This week in the Guernica/PEN Flash Series, we feature a piece from Jennifer H. Fortin. To join the Flash Series mailing list, click here.

Self Timer

You can tell when a photograph was taken by a missing person. At once the room is draftier, an open warning. Since they’re not here, those in the photograph are missing too, residing now with the self timer. To hold the device is not always practical. A pinhole, if no light passes through, creates uncontrollable shuddering in your white chamber. Forgive my persistent mentions of the pin. It’s rude to stare, but worth it. Evil eye, evil eye, my envy is unintentional. Tomato: forgive me this perversion. How I fail to scoop out your system, your delicate fertility, eating it all. Missing people are the most spontaneous ones I know. Construction workers next door: forgive me these complaints of your necessary demolition noise, even when you call at me, as to a stray dog. Sometimes I too wail when I destruct. Behold! My compassion for the miserable is tremendous. I once heard the exact center of a pupil is hollow.