White Ink Journeys
70 years ago mom made a photo album,
pasted pictures in mounting corner tabs on black construction paper.
Under each one she wrote—with white ink—captions in elegant script:
June 17, 1944 Five years old and has chickenpox
My brother was not smiling.
June 17, 1947 Peter is three weeks and
And it is also Father’s Day
Grandpa, white shirted with tie,
Held a sleeping baby strange to my eyes . . .
No memory, no existence except Paul, gramps and white ink.
Nancy Lou and Peter October 1952 Wyncote
Halloween, Nancy Lou arrayed
in Little Miss Muffet white dress, picnic basket
and Peter in leopard suit and mask
ready to pounce, fang and claw.
Were these real? Are we not our memories?
The last one: May 1956 (lower border)
has no caption. A crew-cut kid posed with bow and blunt arrow,
in a backyard by a brick barbecue
ready to shoot a bear leering from a hedge.
Fading like memory.
The rest are blank, black pages,
ragged edges, fraying like my memories
but they are all I have
and all that I am.