On Salgado’s ‘Genesis’/On Disturbance or

Jorie Graham

                                                            the laying down on
                                                            the earth
of the five-fingered silvermailed open hand of the Iguana. Life size. Look. Everything in life turns out to be
                                                            life-
size. These five fingers with lovely slim claws just shining at the tip of each Fabergé-
                                                            bejeweled
cold-blooded – with long lifespan (except short in captivity) – green – in
                                                            rainforest
                                                            but also
desert – also Galapagos – varying their colour to fit the ground – background –
                                                            long
tail, eyelids, four wide-tough sprawling limbs – aluminium – at the end of which (each) this
                                                            hand here now
                                                            sliced from
                                                            its
body by studio assistants and made to lie on soil without possessiveness, and
                                                            grip. And rows of
                                                            spines run in metallic
                                                            geometry like
                                                            any medieval
                                                            mesh – but also so
silverworked and scaled to make an arm and fingers. And the grip. Put down here
                                                            before me
on this earth. A piece of earth. A cropped-off hand steadying itself on earth. A
                                                            grip taken
while signaling (the loose fold under the neck that can be extended to signal others in
distress)(that I am standing here, for instance)(this terribly close)(why
am I here)(I know it is by telephoto and long-focus lens) (also blown up further
                                                            and made to
                                                            gleam in
                                                            brilliant
                                                            cloisonné by
photo-shop) – the third eye on the top of the head now cropped away that perfectly
senses light but does not see form, or image – no – this power-claw
                                                            not this
                                                            instant
swimming or climbing hundred-metre tree – its six-foot body blunt-cut beyond frame –
eats leaves, flowers and fruit – also insects, worms and other small animals –
is killed by birds of prey, fox, rats, weasel, some snakes and
people – its eggs eaten by many animals – he walked away from me when
                                                            I was
most vulnerable, says the girl standing next to me looking at it – it’s all
about timing – yes sighs her friend – I’m not going to be what you want I said –
I’m not going to be your girly girl – so you were blind-sided – he wouldn’t commit –
I’m sorry – I’m not a fucking robot –