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In shadowy black and white her mother and father
come flickering into the room, teetering out of their car,
bearing hatboxes—and the she that must still be she

flickers toward them, turning to flash a smile
to whoever’s behind the camera, to us transfixed on the couch,
and to herself in a wheelchair, some sixty years later.

With a jerk and striation there’s color: patches of green
and blond-white: it’s summer and Christmas and birthdays
repeating, but no one gets old, again and again

grandparents arrive, get out of their cars bearing hatboxes.
On Sundays they pose for pictures. Over and over
in front of brick churches, the women in brooches, corsages, and hats,

which must have come out of those boxes. And gone back in.
Now everyone’s fishing. A wide, smooth panning of hillsides;
evergreens by a stream and the face of her husband,

young, dark-haired, smiling, pipe clenched in his teeth.
Bits in a box now. He casts with a fly rod. An infant frowns
under its bonnet; and then there are fish on a stringer; then cake.

Hope Coulter

Hope Coulter

Hope Coulter directs the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language at Hendrix College. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including The Yale Review, Southwest Review, and Terrain, and her collection The Wheel of Light was published in 2015 as part of the New Poets Series of BrickHouse Books. Awards for her writing include the Laman Library Writers Fellowship, the Porter Prize for Literary Excellence, and four Pushcart nominations. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Hope Coulter

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Author: Hope Coulter

Hope Coulter directs the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language at Hendrix College. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including The Yale Review, Southwest Review, and Terrain, and her collection The Wheel of Light was published in 2015 as part of the New Poets Series of BrickHouse Books. Awards for her writing include the Laman Library Writers Fellowship, the Porter Prize for Literary Excellence, and four Pushcart nominations. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.