Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

In Creve Coeur, Missouri

Academic journal article Transactions of the American Philosophical Society

In Creve Coeur, Missouri

Article excerpt

(Pulitzer Prize for photojournalism, 1989)

Only in Creve Coeur

would an amateur photographer

firebug snap a shot so

unconsolable: fireman bent low

over the rag of body held

like impossible laundry pulled

too soon from the line, too pale,

too sodden with smoke to flail

in his huge, dark, crumpled embrace.

He leans to the tiny face.

Her hair stands out like flame.

She is naked, she has no name.

No longer a baby, almost

a child, not yet a ghost,

she presses a doll-like fist

to his professional chest.

Her head falls back to his hand.

Tell us that she will stand

again, quarrel and misbehave.

He is trying to make her breathe.

Strong man, you know how it's done,

you've done it again and again

sucking the spirit back

to us for its lair of smoke. …

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