a man is holding a small, misshapen book of the past, whose stories will ruin hours, ruin days––stories to be read only with hesitation, stories with the reach and gumption to judge the dead––and when he opens the book, a photograph falls from its pages—small, blurred with what seems like sadness:  he thinks he can discern the face of jesus, whose inner darkness threatens the fortunate world—and also falling from the book, falling to mind, a memory—neither to do with faith as against nothingness, nor faith in nothing's own impermanence—and the air on that morning, turbulent and clear, in itself calling down the permanent crisis of experience:  the patterns of doubt that have the precision of slender errors, accumulating—and the long things of that day of memory, shadows flinging spires against city streets and all manner of lived-on inhuman surfaces—me, i am living alone in memory's allegories, while the other man holds a small and misshapen book of the past, its fallen-away photographs holding the faces of the ancestors somewhere dreaming a different present than this one:  not the past that chases us, whose chase we are, not some dead thing blown live in the stopped hour—
The photographs for The Face of Jesus were made in 2015 in the Pałacu Biskupa Erazma Ciołka in Kraków, Poland; the poem was written in Philadelphia and Kraków in 2012.