Authors and Poets
Authors and Poets

Photos used with permission from the Academy of American Poets

Last updated:
April 19, 2018
Lori M. Cameron, editor

Somewhat Belated – Barbara Smith

Spring 1999, vol. 3, no. 1

You have been dead for a year now, Father,
But it was only last night that I opened
Your last brown box, neatly labeled “Pics.”
Some were duplicates of those in my album,
Others brittle snapshots of relatives? neighbors? friends?
Whose identities I’ll never know.
But then my breathing stopped, and I held in my hand
You in your gawky teens, Aunt Amytis in her twenties,
Uncle Charlie in between.
Your hand rested on your Gothic mother’s arm.
I’d recognize her anywhere, for my daughter wears her face.
Behind her stood a white-haired man
Much older than his wife.
There in the basement chill I knew,
In the marrow of my bones,
Your father, who died so soon thereafter.
I looked for the first time into his eyes
And said
Hello.

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