choosing the portrait

when you die
which picture should they choose
to go with the obituary?

The leading young athlete,
every muscle ready?

The more mature sophisticate,
just before the jowls sagged?

The posed portrait for the nursing home,
when the face hung like pasta
from eyesockets and cheekbones?

These photo albums overflow the shelves:
black-and-white Brownie snapshots
tucked into ornate black corners
on thick black pages,
places and subjects forgotten
or noted in pencil on the back,
strips of color slides and negatives
from midcentury, fading Polaroids,
blue and pink tinged color shots,
all outnumbered by a plethora of digital photos
of smiling people
places and subjects forgotten
or noted in pencil on the back.

The paper remembers
better than the brain;
the heart aches
to enter the frames
and wrench out flesh and blood;
to hear the songs
the crickets and the hush of leaves
feel fresh sun and molten water
to see laughter in a gesture
a dance in the heart
a quick hug of hello or goodbye
salt on the cheek
better than a kiss.

O choose a photograph
and in it find
the moment it was taken
and wonder if you knew
it would be used for this.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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