Only in Photographs This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 10, 2012
Small and petite; rippled and soft,
A basic old lady, as grandmothers should.
“Navy blue is a color for all seasons.”
She stirs slowly the chicken broth, a lazy stove-top whirlpool.
At breakfast her thumb will press to simple white ceramic,
Sesame seeds adhere to her thumb then stick to her tongue,
The tongue which packs monologue not important enough to operate,
The ones which Dad might only know by eavesdropping from the womb.
So she does the laundry and bastes the turkey.
Shops at King’s and reads sales at Bloomingdale’s.
She smiles, and moans a giddy laugh.
“Ooooh!” she says, a grin lifting a crescent smile,
Stretching cheeks with thread-thick canals.
When she speaks her voice is thin,
stitching through the air to fasten the atmosphere,
Appreciated but not acknowledged.
Dad poses with her in frames encrusting the living room wall,
bodies always posed with slanting angles to the left,
She says it’s her good side,
My children will never see the right.

She exists only in photographs,
Thick, glossy, crimped and fringed around the edge.
Her sepia youth rests within my house in an extinct brand of kitsch-patterned album.
Even lawns of grass lay mattress to women and babes who play on assumed green.
Resembles my sister, a little like me.
Now she preens herself for an evening out
She wears in her closeted bathroom a dress I see in vintage stores.
Did it smell like attic wool when new?
Then color claws at my pupil like a putrid, faded Wizard of Oz
in depictions of tight-skinned versions of Mom and uncles and aunts encircling a dinette.
Homemade birthday cakes exert mustard-yellow script.
“Happy Birthday, Mommy.”
I cracked her picture years ago;
A thump of bronze on walnut wood, the glass had cracked into a transparent puzzle.
I was sorry, and I think my mother cried.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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