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The Patricia and Emmett Robinson Prize

Lawrence Rhu
Columbia, SC

 

Vertigo

                —to my daughter at the Museum of the

                Legion of Honor in San Francisco


Behold the empty space that typically

holds Carlotta’s likeness—or a copy

of it—out on loan or in the shop


for restoration now while you are seated

on that wooden bench. Dressed like someone

dressed like someone else, Kim Novak tricked


Jimmy Stewart into thinking he’d killed

someone before he killed someone else.

Earlier he’d seen her on that bench


looking at what’s now missing—or a copy

of it—where you are seated looking now

at the empty space that typically


holds Carlotta’s likeness—or a copy

of it. Nothing’s there and never was.

Together we’re present at its absence


for a moment shared. Some vanishing point

puts all this in perspective. Keep that point

in mind, enjoy the view. And I will too.