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A PHOTOGENIC MOTHER
by Judy Pierce
12/10/04
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I cannot remember her face or her voice
Those secrets seem locked away in the labyrinth
Of life. The memories I have of her are not my
Own, but stolen from sometimes distorted
Reflections.

The poloroid photograph holds her prisoner
And shows her blue-and-white dress freshly
Pressed and punctuated by a still life corsage.
The cigarette in her hand still smoking as she
Watches her son's wedding over and over again.

I wish I could rescue her from this ludicrous
Event that has kept her captive all these years,
To reach into that summer afternoon on our front
Lawn and bring her back to me (and to stop her
From gritting her teeth while she camera-smiles).

She would be happy there surrounded by her
Family if she knew that so many of them are now
Leading one-dimensional lives like hers.
Prisoners of time while we watch them and try
To remember all the sensations that memory
Cheats us from.

Perhaps I should join here there - a fresh
Face in the crowd to liven up the conversation.
To step through to where substance isn't
Important and to live within the fishbowl
Existence of the photograph; but the past can
Never meet the future on present terms.

If I could just reach through to hold her hand
For a moment, to tell her I loved her, and how
Terribly I miss her, to touch her face, to
Breathe in the very soul of her, perhaps I could
Remember being her daughter again and would
Find the beached remains of memories lost in
Storms of grief.

But reality challenges me just as life has
Trapped me, and I know that I must be satisfied
With this album of time capsules. This
Gossamer connection to her is all I have, the
Strength of which is only preserved by love.

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