Sibylline Photograph - Jack London, 1903
“If we could read one human face aright
the history not only of man, but
of humanity itself is written there.” –J. L.
He is bent over his manuscript. Eyes
look down. Clear, without a squint. Unfiltered
cigarette dangling out of the right side
of his mouth. His fingers are ink-stained. Pen
taut. Papers are neatly stacked. Sun still out
(must be late morning). Behind him rises
the afternoon shade of the massive Scrub
Oak (due to be cut down this year). Behind
him rises the dappled crown of shadow
that will ebb and fall. Behind each sun-warmed
leaf, a darkness presses. Behind him time
pushes and breathes on the back of his neck.
Caption reads, London working on The Sea Wolf.
Photograph so exposed, the page looks blank.