Natasha Trethewey

3. Bellocq

April 1911

There comes a quiet man now to my room —
Papá Bellocq, his camera on his back.
He wants nothing, he says, but to take me
as I would arrange myself, fully clothed —
a brooch at my throat, my white hat angled
just so — or not, the smooth map of my flesh
awash in afternoon light. In my room
everything’s a prop for his composition —
brass spittoon in the corner, the silver
mirror, brush and comb of my toilette.
I try to pose as I think he would like — shy
at first, then bolder. I’m not so foolish
that I don’t know this photograph we make
will bear the stamp of his name, not mine.