Do pictures slowly fade from memory,
a death brought about bit by bit by time
and the passing of the artist?
Or do they disappear all at once,
in the white cloud of a cheap magician’s smoke-flash?
I think it’s the slow death, to tell the truth.
Look at Uncle Henry’s picture: already
his smile loses definition, the bottom lip curl
that made his smile special is blurred.
The tape around the nosepiece
of his black plastic glasses unraveling
lost to sight, in a crease.
And the person in the chair in the bottom corner
of the picture has been blurred by many thumbs
that once held the picture dear.
No one can remember
when it was taken.

(It was that lip curl that signaled he had something special to say,
full of his well-marinated wit and considered Uncle timing.
It was something about the dog that he quipped that day,
however, I don’t remember the exact words.
No one remembers them
but we all agreed it was funnier than hell.
There, you see? He is dead and his words
trail off slowly erased, in time with the fading picture,
giving up its ghosts…)