Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,291 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

The Sepia Photograph. - Poem by Terry Collett

She knows she's in
the sepia photograph
but doesn't remember why
or who the others are

or why she dressed
as she did back then
or why there was a dog there
at the front

she keeps the photograph
tucked between
the pages
of the black Bible

some clergy gave her
and a dark secret
she was forbidden to tell
and sometimes

that short woman
with the Mongolian features
steals it to gawk at
then she has to go get it back

sometimes violently
which brings the nurses running
with their rough hands
and strait jackets

or that skinny woman
who always stares
takes hold of it
and stares at it

pointing to the various faces
of the males and females
and at the dog
and smiles and wets herself

and then laughs loudly
which causes
the other inmates
to bellow or laugh

or cry or scream
bringing the nurses trotting
with their what's going on?
or what's all this then?

she holds the photograph
to her bosom when she can
or tries to remember
who they all are

staring back at her
including herself
and when the quacks
question her

about the photo
as to who is who
or why she has kept it
she doesn't have a clue

and one said
she ought not to have it
as it disturbed her
but a nice nurse

(and there were some) said
o no doctor she needs that
there will be hell to pay
if she doesn't have it

tucked between the pages
of the Good Book
she kisses herself some days
talks to one or two

of the others there
but who they were
or to whom she speaks
she doesn't know

and on cold wintery days
she looks toward the sun
for a message
or a warming glow.

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Poem Submitted: Saturday, February 16, 2013

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