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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.