Betty Bleen

Rookie (Wheeling, WV)

In The Photo - Poem by Betty Bleen

In the photo my mother is beautiful.
Though it is in black and white,
I picture her cheeks rosy as pink Chablis.
Her hair cascades thick and wavy to meet
the soft slant of her shoulders, covered
demurely in a dark dress I imagine, a shade of red.
She is smiling coyly for the camera, as if she is
the keeper of some secret, about to spring a surprise.

The couch she sits on is smattered with clusters of
tiny white blossoms.
Behind her, the wallpaper is enmeshed in huge
green leaves pointing skyward; between each two
leaves is a single white flower.
The floor’s linoleum is a characteristic nineteen fifties
pattern of multicolored and sized diagonal stripes.
In the photo my mother is a constant, in surroundings
I can only describe as busy, and so she has been
for most of her life.

The photo was taken after mine and my older sister’s
birth, before those of our siblings.
It was long before school days, dating, marriages,
children, divorces, grandchildren, and all forms of
crisis imagined or real which have transformed her once
vibrant brown hair to gray, strand by strand.
Long before wrinkles claimed her face, Arthritis wreaked
havoc on her joints, Osteoporosis settled in her bones.

In the photo my mother is beautiful.
She is poor but happy, innocent and trusting,
hinging on a promise, glimmering with love.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, June 5, 2011

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