The Image

By Mark Belair

The still image

of a maintenance man

in uniform, his name

stitched into his shirt, holds

on the flat screen TV

of an art installation—one

set to snap random shots—

that faces out a museum window

while the worker, unaware,

orders coffee from a street vendor

and talks about his job

and its morning annoyances, the screen

behind him keeping him

as he was

as he gets his coffee

and moves on into his day, his held

past seeming to watch him

walk away, to watch itself

being forgotten.


Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His books include the collection While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013) and two chapbook collections: Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. For more information, please visit

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