R. Zamora Linmark

Issue 14 · Fall 2014

The photograph by the exit door
said it best: author of prize-
winning allegories standing cool
and composed under the beams
of an attic, looking straight
at the camera to say, Go ahead,
shoot, I dare you, hurry,
before darkness eats up what’s
left of me.  But darkness
was kind that day, as it 
had been countless times
in my favorite novel of his Death
With Interruptions
where the Grim
Reaper, fed up with the mess
people love to create then leave
behind, decides to take a sabbatical
from the living and the dying. 
But there was just enough light
in the portrait to let me know
it was indeed the same smirking
god-father of epic-length
paragraphs who didn’t believe
in God and quotation marks, yet
continued to have faith despite
the losing war against inhumanity,
letting his characters do the thinking
and grieving and frequently cutting
each other off at mid-sentence as
it was the natural Portuguese thing to do. 
His face, sadly, had grown gaunt,
his lips tightly shut, his eyes, wide
open from decades of witnessing. 
Still, the portrait preserved what
he perhaps wanted us to remember
his valediction to be: he standing
before Judgment Day, strapped
around his waist is an obi
of opened books with a dangling wire
for a page marker ready to light up
and confetti the world with words
and god knows what else is left
for us to imagine and destroy.