The Flooded Grave, Theodosia Henney

12_The+Flooded+Grave+1998-2000The Flooded Grave, photograph 1998-2000, Jeff Wall


Photograph of a Flooded Grave*

I did not know until years later
the photograph was staged.

The set and props were real-
shovels, wet green tarp, dark trees,
faded church up the hill-
but the grave itself
was never meant to hold a corpse.

It was dug to be filled
with water from a hose,
stocked with anemones, starfish,
barnacles, small crustaceans.

It should have been obvious.
The soil: chalky, lines too clean
like a cut of flourless cake;
the rubble heap, recent.

When I looked the first time
I missed the evidence.

I saw only water
clear enough to dive into,
and a corner
at the bottom of the grave,
just out of frame,
where it might go deeper.



Theodosia Henney

*The Flooded Grave by Jeff Wall (


Scroll to Top