Old images from long ago held at arm’s length –
there was something comforting about those images,
In 5th grade on rainy days in Los Angeles
when we weren’t allowed to go
outside and have a proper recess,
out came the board games and puzzles
from the moldy closet and out came as well,
as if from the past, those strange cardboard pictures
with their viewing device.
The pictures were yellowed and blurry
to the naked eye and even confusing, but when
placed at the far end of the plank-like device
and viewed through the tiny binoculars
at the other end, a world of beauty
suddenly engulfed you.
Forested mountains and rippling lakes,
trains winding down tracks, speeding out of frame,
farm workers and haystacks from horizon to foreground –
these and other scenes snapped into view
and in each the visual planes were layered one upon
the other to create a 3-D effect.
Such a vivid memory I have hunkered down
at a desk in a far corner taking in image after image,
getting lost in someone else’s frozen memories.
While outside the skies darkened and rain pounded,
sluicing through our forsaken playground,
I was submerged in a bright distant world,
where everything was decided, unmoving,
put in place as if by an angelic being
telling me this is how your world is meant
to be seen if you take the time to really see.
Everything is fully dimensional, every view
can embrace you and not let go.
Now, when I look back on those days
in Mr. Rich’s 5th grade class, when the rain
came down and we remained inside, as if marooned,
I cherish the memory of those magical lenses,
and of my youthful clarity, which made the world
so comforting and perfect to behold.