In the plastic tray
three horizontal bands and two figures
settled and weighted emerge
from nowhere. Could be anything
anyone, but the edges harden
a picket fence behind a garden
and your father and your aunt
sky fence garden father aunt
webbed lawn chairs, tender leaves of cabbage
finger-size stalks of broccoli
early summer late afternoon, a day
long before I came to love you.
Your father in the lawn chair about to fall asleep
next to him your aunt, her handbag
nestled in her heavy arms as if
instead of leaving she was convinced of one last sit.
They rest, motionless
while I shake drops from their clothes
and lower them quickly into the next tray.
And I am stopped at the gate to that garden
where a rake and a shovel lean on the fence
dry dirt fixed on sharp edges.
The photo is rinsed and the hazy summer scene
hangs over the sink to dry.
Soon to be wrapped a gift for you, a surprise—
you did not know you had forgotten.
Published in Nightsun
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