in the boatyard

you were all
in the photo

all looking straight
at the lens
except you
half turned away
so that you were caught
grinning
over your shoulder

I must have
been the one
pulling
out the bellows
focusing
and pressing the shutter
freezing
everyone in place

I must have
been the one
who
peeled away the Polaroid
and wiped the fixer
across the image
so no one would fade

who knew
that you would end up
forty years later
in a wooden frame
on a table
in an apartment
nine stories up
with none more to be written
and old ones
to be retold

– ©  Jeff Kopito

The above photo is actually of my father holding my older brother in the palm of his hand- somewhere between late 1930’s to early 1940’s. This was a trick he did with all the toddlers in the family – never dropped a single one. Can’t recall if he did it with me – probably precedes my long term memory.

The poem I wrote about three years ago after seeing another old image in my niece’s apartment. It’s a memory that lasts now only in photo and phrase…

Earlier poem posted here last Father’s Day

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