His Children Watch from Picture Frames

Erin Elizabeth Smith

The first night I met him,

Each childless weekend

I drive from school

to where the hills are no longer

silk and spry but in repose

along a cursive horizon.

I think of him waiting

to want me as the sun glares

in the rearview.

I have not met his children,

and I wonder if they know about me,

six years younger than the oldest,

whose picture beams from his tall

dresser, her hair as straight and split

as deck wood.

I look at Jenny sometimes

from bed and thinks of my own

posed smile, braced grin

like a mouth full of staples. How once,

kneeling between him, he caught on me,

a thin wail as I bent the metal to release.

How I kissed him everywhere

as apology, and he turned me toward

the wall where Jenny looked down

like a technicolor ghost, a woman

who keeps pursing her lips

to whisper, Hold tight.


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