Frozen in Time This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

September 28, 2012
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beside my mother's bed there is a cabinet
inside are scrapbooks with torn pages
christmas cards of unknown family friends
some unused reading glasses
a pair of lost earrings
and a stack of antique photographs
sepia, black and white
faded colors splashed on brittle papers

smiling faces squinting into the sun
frowning faces of unhappy children
forced into their holiday dresses
and the shiny shoes that fit in the store

there are photographs of women in
bathing suits
standing by the pool, hand in hand
striking poses on a lazy summer afternoon
when the honeysuckles were in bloom

a black and white family portrait
the father with his greased mustache
the mother with poised hands clasped in her lap
and her toes cringing in their shoes
a curl of her daughter's strawberry hair falls over her eyes
right as the flash of the camera goes off

the family dog
the thirteenth birthday party
the wedding
well, the first one, at least
the last day of summer camp
the last day of high school
graduation gowns and caps flying
the wings sprouting from opened minds

a photograph of aunt jean
when she was fifteen
and dating that boy from around the corner
that nobody cared for much
but they smiled at him anyway
even when he showed up in flannels

there is that house
where they lived in 1955
or was it '57?
grandma would remember
we should ask her at the next thanksgiving dinner

who is that?
millie, when she was younger, perhaps …
or is it a second cousin?
the cursive scrawl on the back is illegible
written by an aging hand
of an unknown family member who
didn't want us to forget

photographs in piles
and envelopes
and folders
stacked on top of one another
no method to the madness
carelessly thrown
after being carefully preserved

i spread them out across a dingy carpet
and try to read the sloppy script
trying to piece together
my past

i have this fear of being forgotten
of being a face in a photograph that
might be a second cousin or millie
in a photograph that might have been
taken in 1955
but grandma is too old to remember now

and these faded colors will waste away
until all that is left
is a blank canvas
waiting for new memories to be forgotten

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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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

Meghan13133 said...
Jun. 4, 2013 at 6:23 pm
This is an amazing poem, it's captivating from the start.  You are very talented. :)
bekahjoan said...
May 30, 2013 at 9:49 am
This. Is. Perfect. It describes my family (and probably many other families), along with the thoughts often running through my head, wonderfully. You've done an absolutely stunning job.
pensive said...
May 26, 2013 at 9:53 pm
This is lovely! The ending was especially powerful, I felt like it resonated with me.
CalebODell said...
May 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm
Well written and very creative. Well done
Little_Blue_Lights This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 8, 2013 at 9:45 am
Great work! A very insightful poem that held me spelll bound from the first line. I'm not sure what to think about the lack of capital letters. It's obviously a deliberate styleistic choice. I think you really captivated the type of pictures the narrartor found. The little details like the women who stood "hand in hand" and "a curl of... strawberry hair fall in here eyes" were perfect. I particuarly liked "that boy from around the corner/ that nobody liked ve... (more »)
Deviib said...
May 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm
This is wonderful!
Kiwi. said...
May 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Wow! Exactly the kind of thing I don't tend to think about much except for that one moment... well captured.
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