Tuesday, Feb. 04, 2003
You call and ask if there is anything of his that I want.
You say: There are a dozen cameras, and a brand new computer monitor.
I say: You know what I want.
He is distracted for a moment by something on the television.
I say: Dad.
He says: Give me a hint.
I want the boxes of his photographs: the boxes of prints and negatives.
The boxes that sit in a cow barn in Rehoboth begging mice to nest.
The portraits of the family that no one has wanted to look at for twenty years.
I want the two hundred pictures of his Shetland collie.
I want to see my mother. I want to see the woman before she began writing letters in her perfect catholic school cursive, to the man in the Walpole penitentiary, asking him to make you disappear forever.
I want to see you with a bare face, your green turtleneck sweater, sheepishly trying to skirt the eye of the camera.
There might be a picture of what we all looked like before Jesus entered the family and we all shimmied one smiling jazz step away from each other.
I want the picture of Mary in her mortar cap, with brown hair in her eyes, leaning, leaning hard into the camera, and smiling, because at that point she didn't have to.
I want the photo taken in the field front of My Lady of Fatima. The photo of my grandfather holding a race form in a left fist, and my grandmothers soft shoulder in the other. I want to see the position of my grandfather's arm as he touched his wife. It is held in the perfect angle of devotion. I want to see her back stiff to his touch, the May light reflected in his wife's eyes: sharp, hungry and unyielding,.
The light returning the name of her one true love.