Selfies by Billy Howell-Sinnard


My daughter gave me a selfie stick,
said that mom told her I was the one

always taking pictures of myself.
I protested at first, then let it go,

thought of all the photos on Facebook
that were of me as a baby up until now

and the hundreds of transformations
in between. Was I vain? I didn’t

think so. I know my mother
would be critical of the way I looked.

She was beautiful and her children
had to be beautiful, except my nose

was too big and my feet were better
kept covered. There was a time

when I thought my looks were all
I had, but I didn’t trust that either.

I look at those photos and wonder,
who is that baby, boy, teenager, man?

What was I thinking in my swallowtail
tux, a buzz on, the sun setting behind me,

high school done and never begun?
Why that sad look on my face?

I’m holding a toy gun, about to cry.
I’m always about to cry even when

I’m smiling. I think we all are.

by Billy Howell-Sinnard

Editor’s Note: This poem subtly emphasizes one of the problems of social media—what is true? Are we all crying behind our profile pics?


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