A quiet man in plain clothes,
With a plain-looking old camera
Chooses a spot at the top
Of an outdoor Parisian stairway
That looks like a spiraling nautilus,
And waits.

He waits until the light Is just right
And waits a bit more
Not knowing for what.
People walk by
On the cobblestones.

He is unnoticed –
A sniper above them
Watching their moves
And doing nothing.
Until a man on a bicycle
Comes racing by.
Did he anticipate this,
Or is it all serendipity?
He fires the shutter
At just the exact moment,

Not a second too early,
Not a second too late,
But at the exact moment
When the bicycle
Is between the handrail,
The curb,
And the wall.

The man on the stairs walks away
With a black and white masterpiece
Pulled right out of the air
That no one else ever guessed
Was there.