With nearly forty mounted photographs stacked neatly in the backseat, I drove to the grocery store in the middle of the night. A deer stood still at the side of the road and flashed its eyes my way, then let me pass unscathed. I saw three other cars before I pulled into a parking lot holding six.
At night the grocery store is a sleeping linoleum palace. At night there are foodstuffs, canisters, crates of bottles stacked everywhere, leaving tiny narrow aisles. At night there are few women in the store.
Back in my car, with the photographs still neatly stacked in the backseat, and with Italian bread, a quart of milk, and some yogurt riding shotgun, I drove home again over the cresting hills. Turning back onto the state highway, I suddenly had a good long look at the sky, at all its stars, at all its small-making sweep. Its severalness. I thought about counting them, as I drove past the sheep pasture that now feeds llamas as well, as I coasted back to Gambier past another deer on the other side of the road.
Something about a photograph spotted, mounted, and signed makes it look more serious. I took this time, it says. I measured and marked and pulled the arm on the mounting press down, and I made sure that every edge stuck. And I have to say: I'm pretty pleased with this semester's fruit. The images play nice with one another. Part of me wants to figure out a way to hang them all over my life.
Tomorrow I reemerge from my photolab cocoon. Tomorrow my nose goes back to my words.