Bernard Page 4

    Four black kids, pale as milk, race down a city alley. In panic, in thrill? Their faces blank. Their legs a blur against filthy cement. Someone in the background turns to look.
    Three Hispanics lean against a Chevy. Two of them with arms folded, one with an eye patch looks glum; his companion, sitting on the hood, sneers, sarcastic. 'Ey gringo! 'Ey 'mericano! The third is wide-mouthed with laughter, his hands in his pockets. He looks like he knows something.
    But as always, the photo tells him nothing.
   A fleshy middle-aged Caucasian, wall-eyed, in a rumpled shirt, a pair of glasses balanced awkwardly on his nose, stares out defensively. You can't tell what he's looking at. A reverse Mona Lisa: no matter where you stand, he doesn't seem to be looking at you.
    His skin is blotched and saggy.

    How badly white skin ages.
    He flips to the next: a young woman in a halter walks away in a glow of darkness, her head turned back, defiant, contemptuous.
    Didn't even ask for her rate, and here I am taking her picture: the nerve! ...
    A retired dictator with a hare lip and wearing a Hawaian shirt stares remotely at him through a large white pair of sunglasses -- some nameless monster sipping daquiris in Miami, sunbathing on the Florida sands between hurricanes and wet T-shirt contests.
    Nice picture. I even caught his snakelike silence.
    A pile of corpses lies smothered in mud, a single living hand, in a triumphant wave, cut off at the corner.
   The foul lieutenant with the disgusting smile,