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Summer Girl MAG
I sit curled up in a patch of weak winter sunlight
leafing through the photo album
soaking in captured moments of time
the smiling faces etching themselves into my memory.
My face in these photos is unrecognizable:
freckled, sun-kissed, laughing
hair sun-brightened, streaked copper-gold
alive, alive, a Summer Girl living a summer's day.
My face now:
pale, quiet, withdrawn … a mask.
Beneath the surface, memories are swirling
I writhe in anguish, heart-rending, lung-constricting anguish, caused by remembered joy.
Flashes break through my meticulously constructed facade:
A ray of sunlight, angled through the leaves,
and Queen Anne's lace, a lowly weed
bright as quicksilver, hearty and lining the highway.
Indeed, it is regal.
The driftwood fire, abandoned by one family
and discovered by mine the night of the fair.
My dad, striding to the stranded skeleton of a shipwreck
illuminating it from within with his flashlight.
The beach, shrouded in fog
muffled laughter wending through the
Twirling, twirling, twirling
gripping a favorite cousin's hands
anchored only by each other.
My mental box rattles
the memories I locked safely inside fight to escape
too painful to remember, too beloved to forget.
Once I've started, I can't stop.
I gasp in pain, my arms crossed over my chest.
The memories are killing me
even as they bring me to life.