As I turn its clear-plastic pages, the album
Crinkles its nose like a hound on the scent,
And I find my way—eyes down, nostalgic tears
Leaking from between twitching lids—
To memories stopped dead in their tracks and
Mounted like trophies on the page:
The love that erupted like a sprinkler,
Moistened the parched earth,
Then succumbed to drought;
Piggyback rides with Dad,
Rolling dough with Grandma, and
Paddling on the lake with Mom;
Trips taken at the dawn of consciousness:
I see water splash, sun twinkle,
Small feet rest in pixelated sand.
Am I the sum of these pictures?
What of the forgotten and the misremembered—
The broken collarbone and the broken heart,
The graduations and celebrations?
And what of the mundane, when the camera
Was withheld or left behind—
Ten-thousand unremarkable days?
Time’s arrow pierces when I pause
To look back, and the blood is the blood
Of sadness, longing, and wonder
At how slowly, how quickly
My life till now has passed me by.
At last I put everything away: the images
And the past. I do not know
If they belong in a drawer or a dream,
If they are seeds or flowers,
A garden or a nursery,
But I am weak. I walk away from myself
Into an uncertain, unknowable future.
Written on Saturday, January 20, 2018