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A Box of Old Photographs

A Box of Old Photographs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     by Fred Collins                                         Rights reserved                                                   Return to <Poems and Stuff>

Black-and-white, 
out-of-doors snapshots, 
grainy, washed out.

Low buildings, low trees, 
low objects–
Tractors, combines, trailers, 
balers, cars and pickups–
low horizon.

Everything crouching, 
as if to hold on in the wind or 
to avoid the full stare of the sun.

In posed groups, 
Men 
square-jawed and squinting, 
as if in defiance of toil and time 
and immensity,
Resigned in the face of defeat;

Women vague,
Seeming to look at nothing 
while seeing everything,
Thinking whatever women think, 
destined to years of loneliness;

Small children
bewildered by glint and heat 
and dust but already having learned 
to stand with their hands at their sides.

Dirt everywhere;
Plowed dirt in fields and 
compacted dirt in farmyards.

Coarse weeds, 
Along fences and 
up against 
broken down tractors 
and implements.
Cockleburs and gourd vines
Thistles and sunflowers

Here and there,
A throw rug of goatheads 
or grassburs.

A world of hot dirt and stickers 
and graves.
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