A Life in Pictures

There's one of a young girl standing by an untamed forsythia bush. It was May–Memorial Day–the little script on the side of the picture inked the date on the slick paper. It was cold. The young girl is wearing a winter coat. Her hair is as rowdy as the forsythia; her mother would have taken care of that. But they are in this place to visit her mother, who has been in the ground for 28 days. The girl's eyes have no wick, no candle, no flame. It's so cold. The picture is grey and white yet the brain says these flowers are butter yellow.

Another one. The teenaged girl has grown her hair long. She is carrying roses, wearing a tiara, the crook of her arm is encircled by the hand of a blonde young man in a grass stained football uniform. It was half time. You can't see the thorns but they were digging into her forearm as she smiled for the picture that went into the yearbook, the local paper. She only dated the quarterback that one weekend. It was sort of a requirement. In the spring, she left home for good and thanked God.

Another one. The college sophomore on spring break. A bright day in March. Daffodils everywhere, a river glinting in the corner of the picture. She is in a swing, wearing a wedding dress, the shining, unscratched ring on her hand curled against the rope. She is kicking up into the branches of the oak, swinging away from her new husband, the daisies in her hair somehow holding on. There is no limit to how high she can be. The photograph is full of the moment and not a clue of what pictures are coming next.


Ashland, VA