Since 1996 Volume XXI
Tricks a Girl Can Do
Hannah Maynard was one of the first professional women photographers in Victoria, British Columbia. After the death of her teenage daughter, Lillie, she created a series of multiple exposure self-portraits. From 1884 to 1896, Maynard¹s work grew progressively more eccentric.
I will hang myself in picture frames
in drawing rooms where grief
is not allowed a wicker chair
then grimace back at this facade
from umbrella eyes
through a cage of silvering hair.
Look! I’ve learned to slice myself in three
to sit politely at the table
with ginger punch and teacake;
offer thin-lipped graves
of pleasantries. I develop myself
in the pharmacist’s chemicals
three women I’m loathe to understand—
presences I sometimes cajole
into porcelain light and shadow.
We culminate in a silver gelatin scene—
a daughter birthed from a spiral shell,
a keyhole tall enough to strut through.
Cloud Pharmacy, (White Pine Press), 2014
Copyright, Susan Rich.