First Family

Here’s one where we posed
against the wooden garage door
over on Molino Avenue. The first place on Molino,
by the big church. Not the later one, by the market.
That’s me; right out of the shower,
wet hair anchored with two big bobby pins
just to keep it out of my face,
Then I’d pull on that faded red sweatshirt.
Damn, I look right out of The Grapes of Wrath,
down to the bare toes curled
away from the weeds.

Over here’s my husband: the first one.
A flannel shirt, as usual; wire frame glasses,
as usual; the loose weave cardigan
that he called his “writer’s sweater.”
Strange to see his arm around my shoulder,
perched carefully, like he’s following a list
of sad and complicated instructions.

A neighbor took this picture
but he didn’t do a very good job.
The drainpipe’s left a striped shadow
across our faces.

Well, look how small the baby is,
nearly lost in the crook of my arm.
That dumb tuft of hair sticking up.
His eyes squeezed shut,
about to cry, one hand grabbing at the air.

Yes, that Bougainvillea’s something, isn’t it?
It would take over the roofs,
stretching from one to another in a canopy,
then spill down into the yard. The thorns!
Well they could catch you all right, do some damage.
But the fallen blooms,
thin as tissue paper
and the way just lifting my feet
made them skitter away
like little fairies in my path.
I’d nearly forgotten that.

Published in Poetry Super Highway, Mal Pais Review

Photo by Amy Humphries on Unsplash