MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
 by

Poetry


Proof

Zhaleh Sarduy

Your memory is long
and cutting
pieces of me
for your scrapbook
snapshots
of the me that never was
pictures of the promise
that still disappoints
What I could have been,
had I not awakened
from your dream.

Your album is heavy
The little plastic windows
sticky with neglect
document a history
made fragile
by the desire to forget.

The thick pages
burdened by their cargo
cling to each other
holding together
family secrets
until finally
outside forces
pull them apart
breaking their vow of silence.
Through hissing teeth
and sighs of surrender
they give up the ghosts of the past.

Your album is an impostor.
a mere collection
of counterfeit poses
and celluloid smiles
practiced ‘til perfect
“Say cheese!” devolving
into an order
to look natural
normal
more evidence for the file
35mm proof of our happiness.

More telling than the photos
however
are the holes in your timeline
missing holidays
forgotten birthdays
This is where you will find the real me
stepping out from the shadows
this less-than-perfect version of me
still shines
and through lots of practice
has learned never to blink
during the flash.

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