Old Pho­tographs

The Iowa Review - - MALACHI BLACK -

So this must be the color of the past: a light as am­ber as the whiskey in your glass,

the ice long melted. There: a tint of an­tique pa­per in the un­sus­pect­ing air,

em­bel­lish­ing the sil­hou­ettes and yel­low­ing the glare into false jaun­dice.

Like din­ner sil­ver tar­nished to a patina of brass, each shine has lost its pol­ish

in the drawer where it was left: the teeth, the smil­ing eyes, the hair, the flash caught in old eye­glasses

once noted for their stylish­ness, now clown­ish, grace­less, brash. Some things are ugly sim­ply

for their earnest­ness. The face is yours, as are the hands, but only in their bone struc­ture;

mid­dle age has soft­ened us at last. I stay with you there, al­most hand­some, proud

as the small shut­ter snaps. I’m else­where now, but I’m still ag­ing from your pho­tographs.

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