Mug Shot Photographer



Full-face and profile, rumpled and blank,
they glare into the middle distance,
some with new mistakes’ fresh pink scars,
others with the pimples of innocence.
Eyes, blue as a bruise or brown as dirt,
their faces, shallow, wild places,
like a bed where an animal might have slept
for one night. 
Drunk hair spikes toward the florescent ceiling,
locker-room scent of fear and resignation,
they slouch against the yardstick’s measure,
as I gauge their height, assay their stature.
Murderers, thieves,
spouse abusers, arsonists
each sinks like a tired fish
toward the murky bottom.
The taxidermist’s docile prey.

I aim the zombie camera.
Art is of no use.
Not even a hand without fingerprints is guiltless. 
At the end of each shift,
I take a selfie.


Appeared in Off the Coast, Summer 2014

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