It is said that the purpose of a family photograph is to preserve memory, but it creates images that take the place of memory, conceal it, and are a kind of respectable history, unnuanced and interchangeable, passed from one family to the next with the vague hope of leaving a trace for future generations. Not a literary history, but a superficial history.
– Hervé Guibert
When I was a child, I never thought I’d reach twenty-five,
I’d just never felt all that alive.
When I reached the age I’d never thought so,
I will admit for a while – it was touch and go.
Now that age I’ve moved beyond,
To life I’ve grown attached, grown fond.
But sometimes in the deep dark of night,
It can be hard to see the light.
The child once more takes hold,
And I feel like I’ll never know what it’s like to be old.
To be sure, I must admit I don’t want to die,
But, my old self, I’ve never seen in my mind’s eye.
My constant companion,
Never far from sight,
Always there for just in case,
How rarely you see the light.
An Idea of what could be, a future
For the two of us, you and me.
Grand plans created so alive in my mind.
In reality, likely never to be.
Untold stories trapped,
So many of them locked inside so deep.
Fear of Failure – lies told – doubt of oneself in truth.
Your unblemished pages, yours to keep.
Such Envy, I have.
For those with no doubt.
For whom life’s plan is clear.
A destination, clearly, seen at the end.
For those who walk on level ground,
Stable ground with no pitfalls or detours.
Such Envy, I have.
For those with no questions.
For whom land is their constant companion.
A horizon of luscious land, no sea within sight.
For those who never experience the terror of being
battered to-and-fro, alone, in a storm.
Three women sitting down together
Each discussing their lives
All are separate yet
All are the same.
A three-sided mirror sits
Each face waiting to reflect
The first face – always uncovered
Catches the sun’s rays
To send out to the world.
The second – sometimes uncovered
In only the deepest silences
Always alone despite the crowd.
The third – never uncovered.
Its face, unknown even to its owner
Who sometimes always with
The greatest of trepidation
Gathers a moment of courage
To grab the corner of the cover
Intending to pull it back and reveal
What lies beneath.
Only to stop at just the last moment,
Each and Every time.
Three women, three lives.
Three mirrors, three images.
Two lies and one truth, or
Three truths and no lies?