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The Moviemaker

My father was a haphazard home-
moviemaker. He left the camera
running in its case, shot directly
into sunlight, lost scenes in shadow.
His hands shook or jerked the lens back
and forth across the family huddled
on a bluff. He captured nothing
but my brother's white buck shoes
as they moved through clipped grass,
me half-headed on an Adirondack chair.
I used to think it meant he could not bear
to see us as we were. Specializing in
double exposure, he superimposed
a summer vacation in upstate New York
over a Sunday morning of sledding
in Prospect Park, or a gleaming Seder
table over a morning visit to the cemetery,
headstones unsteady in what may have
been autumn rain. When we packed
to move, I found a bag of undeveloped
reels stashed in the attic and dated
a month before he died. Knowing what
to expect from my parents' last trip
together did not prepare me for
the sight of cars on the Amalfi Drive
passing through the Coliseum
in the heart of Rome, clouds adrift
above a ramshackle hotel roof, or my
mother frowning while he tried to bring
her into focus on the Spanish Steps,
my last chance to see as he did.

Floyd Skloot

The Sewanee Review

Winter 2014

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