There are three things I don’t like in poems: poems about writing poems; poems about foreign travel; and words in other languages. So here’s a poem about poetry, mentioning foreign travel, with a word in French (coquelicots means “poppies”).
The photo store has a machine that makes
old photos look good. You can zoom in
and crop on the image. It will save what’s curled
or losing emulsion. I’ve copied a few
for my mother; she wants help to remember
her dead. My grandparents pose as though
expecting to be deported. The images fade
like memories, dimmer each year.
I never take pictures, don’t like
imposing a camera on what I do or watch.
A whole year in Africa, I shot one roll of film.
Maybe I miss a lot. Sandy insisted we take
pictures of our trip to France. It was my idea
to have her pose in a field of poppies.
That’s why we have her in her flowered dress,
surrounded by Impressionist coquelicots.
Instead of photos I rely on a mental album,
with sections for good and bad memories.
The images fade but the feelings remain
and no one grows old. There are words, too,
that capture time better than chemicals
or pixels. Sometime I may write about
a smiling face in the pink dusk
of a French field of coquelicots.