When I look at the photograph of myself—
an infant in my mother’s arms—
I recognize my usual expression:
that solemn stare,
that vague air of melancholy
under the fuzzy knitted hat.
My pale mother is a stranger though.
She could never have been that young,
and as far as I know
she never knit anything.
It’s all there: the darkness
that will take me, the cancer that will take her.
In another picture, unsmiling on a swing,
I pump into the future,
my mother already a shadow–
dark silhouette just out of sight.
Photographs—those expert witnesses—
are potent as dreams the moment of waking.
I close the album
and put it in a drawer,
the one that sticks
and is seldom opened.