Photographs I never show
change their colors in the dark.
Take this little window, for instance—
smaller than a hand…
That bent and angular man in greasy overalls
is my Grandfather, Charlie Edwards,
who taught me the names of the trees I climbed.
That old woman holding out a four leaved clover
is my Grandmother, Nellie, who could tell a story
so well you didn’t know the sun had gone down
until you came back to yourself sitting in the dark.
She shades her eyes against the sun,
the humid wind of that day caught in her apron.
A boy between them answers to my name.
Head shaved for summer, dirty pants falling
off his bones, he holds in his skinny arms
a little dog, blurred in mid-squirm.
He’s grinning because he’s going to be an astronaut,
or an architect, or drive a red dump truck.
That’s our house leaning at our backs, painted
with our shadows. In the summer,
it was a sweat lodge with a TV in the corner.
In the winter, the frost on the wall over my bed
was so thick I could write my name in it
with my fingernail.
child, house, dog…
The sun of this morning falls
onto the faces of that lost afternoon.
Nothing in this frame of frozen poses remains
except that distant earth
All that’s left
to bind up the light between human skin.