Family Photo, Long Beach Island 1991
Dune grass bends behind us
as we line up, arm in arm,
mothers, fathers, cousins and spouses.
Aunt Rita is second from the right,
the master of lobster bakes
and perfect, golden corn on the cob.
My new husband stands on the end,
still not certain where to be.
His blond hair covers one eye
in answer to a long ago breeze.
Mom beams from the middle.
Twin to Barbara, mother of three.
A gentle soul whose eyes already
reflect the battle against
illness that took her this past winter.
just out of view,
over to the left,
see our younger selves
exploring the bay’s sandy bottom,
searching for clams with tender feet.
My great, great grandfather’s duck blind
hovers on stilts offshore.
The small cottage, no longer standing,
glows late into the evening,
packed with too many cousins.
And, if you listen very carefully
You can hear the heartbeats
of grandchildren to come,
traipsing up the beach,
to stand in a photo,
arm in arm.
Inspiration for this poem came from Billy Collins’ poem, “Class Picture, 1954”.