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Joyce Carol Oates, 2010
Robert Weingarten: Joyce Carol Oates, 2010

Photography Session

—in memory of Jim Jacobs

You died on Wednesday. On Friday
I'm hauled by limousine to be photographed
for a magazine feature, Charles Street
near Varick, a garbagey smell to the air.
March 25 and warm as May! "My object,"
the photographer explains, "is an utterly
natural image." His five assistants, all male,
move like dancers in the semi-dark.

For years you'd kept your dying a secret.
The illness . . . its dread name. Chemotherapy
and blood transfusions and the rest. Sparing
us, one might say cheating us of premature sorrow.

Thirty minutes were required to make up my face.
Pain doesn't sweat at any pore, nor
does the meager soul reveal itself.
Layered in paste, paint, rouge . . . I'm safe.
"Look into the lens," the photographer says
patiently, repeatedly, "—look at me."

From The Time Traveler

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photo by Robert Benyas studio photo photo by Jack Robinson photo by Fay Godwin
photo by Raymond Smith photo by Jerry Bauer photo by Graeme Gibson photo by Layle Silbert
photo by Layle Silbert photo by Graeme Gibson photo by Jerry Bauer photo by Jerry Bauer
photo by Jerry Bauer photo by Jill Krementz photo by Norman Seef photo by Brian J. Berman
drawing by David Annesley painting by Renée Heinecke photo by Norman Seef photo by Juliet van Otteren
photo by Marion Ettlinger photo by Beth Gwinn photo by Mary Cross drawing by Joyce Carol Oates
painting by Gloria Vanderbilt photo by Jeff Sciortino photo by Star Black