Marcelle Freiman

Marcelle Freiman’s poetry collections are Spirit Level (Puncher & Wattmann 2021), White Lines (Vertical) (Hybrid 2010), and Monkey’s Wedding (Island Press). Her poetry has appeared in anthologies and literary journals that include Antipodes, Axon, Cordite, Mascara Literary Review, Meanjin, Meniscus, Southerly, StylusLit and Westerly. She is an Honorary Associate Professor at Macquarie University.



Camera Lucida – photograph of my mother as a child c.1931  

A few seconds of time, a day
when you were four, maybe five –
your gaze intent
towards the camera’s lens – 

        and it’s only in the way
the light is caught by the right side
of your cheek, your white socks
and bedroll held on a shoulder,
silver birches alongside, pathways
crossing behind you lit between shadows,
the far shimmer of a lake beyond the trees –
that you were there
that moment, that day – the click
of a shutter, your mother? your nurse?
who had cropped the dark hair
framing your face – your clear eyes
seem to see into facets of a future
you could not possibly envision, then. 

        Chemical iridescence
as negative turns to image –
it’s in the captures of light that day
that I am given your confident stance
the sassiness of your gaze – transformations
of light – the way that overlapping scales
of a butterfly wing
will come alive and multiple
with falling angles of the light –
you, in a deep shaded forest