Cornelius Eady 
Photo (retouched)

One day, in the mid-sixties, my mother gives me a brownie camera 
In the city of Rochester, NY, where this type of camera was invented.  

This is where the black migration lead my parents, 
From Florida to this small eastern city, which hugs a lake. A few blocks over,
Fredrick Douglas lived and printed his newspaper, a few blocks more, 
Susan B. Anthony's home is a soft candle off a small park.   

But it's later: My parents aren't here out of admiration, 
They're here because the Italians and Poles in town are moving up, 
Are moving on. And have left this neighborhood they way we forget the box 
That held the babble.  

So here, says my mother, and plops! the Kodak into my hands.  

Now that she's dead, and those photos long missing,  
What was her assignment? 
Skinny boy, mother's darling, cub reporter, 
Doing what he was told, the click of the tall rag weed, 
(Not us, stoopin' on the front porch) 
The snap of the lumber yard, gone. 
(Not us, kool-aiding, watching T.V.) 
The flash of elephant ears besides the dead rails.
(Not my father, washing his Buick).  

A brown box.  
That cheap kinda vinvl/ sort of leather touch on the finger. 
That pop-up view-finder that works the way you figured it'd work 
If you accidently  
Mumbled a magic word.