By Kate Johnson '79
She was so excited, she tells me. She couldn’t wait for the Pope’s visit to Toronto and stood, some hours, on the curb in a chill drizzle to see him pass. He waved behind a shield in the limo while she held her camera to one eye—an entire roll of film spent before the Pope and his entourage of cars and cardinals turned out of sight. “Then,” she says, “I burst into tears.” Unstoppable tears while she put her camera in its case and walked home. “I was crying because I’d waited so long and it might be the only chance I’ll ever have...and I was taking pictures. I didn’t even see him. I didn’t see him.”
I wish I’d never heard this story. What if it’s true? What if a whole life is like that? Behind a lens, snapshots, memories, proof: I was there, see? But the life itself always moving away from us, no one inside it.
Kate Johnson is the author of three collections of poetry, the most recent of which, Wind Somewhere, and Shade, received a Gradiva Award. Johnson is a writing faculty member and directs the MFA Program in Poetry, and has a private psychoanalytic practice in Bedford Hills, NY.