To end April’s National Poetry Month, here’s a wonderful portrait written by award winning poet Joan Colby. Joan’s latest poetry collection is The Seven Heavenly Virtues. Learn more about Joan and her poetry here.
Five daughters, every one with hair
To her hips. Cumbersome dresses
Meant for Sundays. No one is smiling.
The mother’s hair skinned into a thick bun.
The smallest child on her lap. The father
Gallant with sideburns, chin whiskers,
A wave over one eye. Cravat and
Polished boots. That they lived, all of them,
In a one-room log cabin in the Uinta Mountains
Is not apparent, dressed in their finest, hair
Freshly washed and brushed so that
Every girl could be Rapunzel.
Two infant sons already buried.
The father will die by gunfire
At the age of 40. The mother will be nursing
Her last child: my father
Who will be photographed later
In a white lace baptismal gown.
– Joan Colby
First published in Poppy Road Review
P.S. New prompts are up on the Prompts page.
2 thoughts on “Family Photo, 1899”
You can see the family so well, can’t you. Not only what they looked like, but their hopes and sorrows as well. I love her subtle hand in this writing, telling us just enough for us to infer the rest.