HPN

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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 22

Old Photo

Like a land-locked sea, slowly drying up

from the edges in, till just

a splash of its former self—your long-dead relations

the island survivors you knew them—

this old photo, gnawed by light, fades away.

Here, in pearls, is your lovely mother

in spats, your matinee idol father.

Here, your aunt, before spinsterhood set in,

posing primly before the prom.

And, my God, the furniture!

It has everything to do with the light:

the fingers of the light rub the borders of the lake

like Time. And chemistry, that we must also say

without quite knowing why.

Anyhow, it fades.

inevitably, for hide it,

hang it in the dark or otherwise

dilute the light, it still

slides in like a tide, a drop-off, reaching

in a century or so, their knees.

R. Dickerson