Words are like physical images when curated just so.  They appear like a polaroid photograph that magically converts light into visual memories.  Unlike the instant images caught in multiple images snapped by a digital lens, a polaroid image is an exacting process.  The intimate interaction of negative and positive chemically treated sheets of paper physically captures a perfect pose as it develops before the human eye.

Some of my most treasured photographs are treasured images captured by a polaroid. On special occasions, my father would pull out his polaroid camera and take pictures.  First, of my brother and myself growing up.  Later, of his grandchildren when they came to visit. It is what triggered my daughter’s love of photography over the years.  It is what fed my love of poetry over the years.

As I sit staring at my laptop screen, I close my eyes and let my thoughts loose.  Patiently, I wait. And when enough time passes images come to light, and my fingers start to dance on the keyboard.  It feels like a polaroid developing in my mind’s eye. Memories of growing up pull at my heart and words come to light.  Memories of my parents draw a flow of sadness and humor in equal parts.  Memories of my brother as a young man transcend the image of his battle with dementia in later years, and ease feelings of an irrevocable loss.

Words appear.  Images appear.  A poem appears.



shadows and light
dance on images
framed by the naked eye
watching and waiting
for that one right time
to snap a shutter
to hold captive
that one face
that smiles just so

exposed in the subtle shift
from light to dark
rinsed and dried just so
held captive now
as I look at that one
face loved and lost
that one place
recalled now and again

in memory




Background photo by Deby Hudson

Polaroid by John Bienko

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