Gloria Murray

when I look at the old black & whites

in the frayed photo album
see her holding me, chubby thighs
curled in her wide lap
or on the steps, small hand clutched in hers
as I stand smiling in banana curls
and starched pinafore

I stare at her lovely pale face
hair pinned up–1940’s style
legs crossed in ankle strap shoes
and the way the sunlight catches
the pouting of her large mouth

I look at mother and daughter
holding each other
holding each other in love and even laughter
before it all came tumbling down
like a bombed city, brick by brick
and the ruins there at my feet
so many years, so many explosions later

and I touch the curled edges
of those small photos, torn now with age
and look and look until
my eyes go blind with seeing


we try to find
in one another
a place to nest, to sleep
without pills, HBO or sex
on yesterday’s sheets

holding tight
to the sinking titanic
we breathe
the same breath of loss
all motherless children
fatherless waifs
widows and widowers
Hansel and Gretel
in the deepening forest
dropping breadcrumbs
for the long way home

more than lovers
twining naked limbs around
the gold ring of promise
more than siblings
snoring under the half
moon of night

more than children
in a playground, sticking
the pin in, finger to finger
now we press
our bleeding psyches together

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