Old photographs
hurt, call out
from drawers, cabinets
shelves, boxes, “I’m not here,
don’t know when
I’ll see you again, if
I’ll see you again.”
Why have I no place to hold them?
What’s missing in me?
Is it you?
I’ve held on for so long.
Do I need a picture?

Like roiling dark
winter Atlantic waves, a tide
of emptiness rides
through me, as when
I walked with Mother
to the pier near our house,
As I grew, so did her bulky weight.
There was no shape.
Do I need a picture?

͂Mother wears an aqua gown
borrowed from a friend
for her engagement, holds
long stemmed roses.
A sad, pretty face.
Elegant, and sad.
A whole life shot through:
Many unhappy returns.
Depressed, ill-treated,
The young woman might
Become me.

Paula Goldman’s book, The Great Canopy, won the Gival Press Poetry award, and was honorable mention for the Independent Booksellers’ Award. Her work has appeared in Oyez Review, Slant, Briar Cliff Review, Calyx, Passager, Ekphrasis, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Manhattanville Review, Cream City Review, Comstock Review, Harvard Review, and other magazines.