sifting through forgotten photographs with nana
we stumble upon a buried love-gem,
some dusty moment two decades gone.
in it i sit between my mother’s legs
grinning, reflection of my father beside me.
huddled tight on old aunt cleo’s tidy cement porch
we peer out over lebanon, va, root of half my lineage.
she was all rose petals & hope
squat next to her husband, who was brown
as the soil she was raised up from,
with a smile that caught every bit of the sun in its teeth
& brought her to bloom on its brightest days.
but those times were short-lived;
the rest of the years littered with storms that’d last days.
her voice became the lightning that split the skies,
the thunder of my father’s tongue quick to follow,
storms never distant.
curled beneath a heavy blanket,
phosphorescent stars overhead,
repeats of “the wonder years” on t.v.,
i’d ramble over the rage between the backwards lovers,
looking for the reason they would endure such constant tumult,
too naive to see the question’s obvious answer: me,
whom they decided was more important than their own peace.