Unfolding by Victoria Twomey


unfold the black and white picture
that opens to a perfect square

look at this young, white-gloved girl
posing and smiling as directed

the year, the subjects, the occasion
written in pen on the back

see the perfect ribbon in her hair
the perfect patent leather shoes on her feet

following the fold
a jagged crease across her parents’ faces

see how their hands do not touch
see the cold snow at their feet

and this one, buried at the bottom of a drawer
scratched and torn, yellowed tape at the edges

opening to a brown-eyed woman-child in shades of gray
folded across the heart

smooth-skinned, round-cheeked
her full-lipped mouth holding back her questions

and another, in color, twice folded in anger
leaving the shape of a cross

beside a stranger, a young woman kneels at an altar
a thirsty wanderer at an empty well

and another
a young woman holds a brown-eyed boy in her lap

he holds a teddy bear and picture of his absent father
folded down into a tiny iron-weighted square

this one, in a frame
not yet tucked away in someone’s keepsake box

a gray-haired woman
listening to music from her youth

she stands at an easel near a sun-filled window
her face and palms creased with time

she is painting a woman, painting a woman
who is wondering about the sound of stars

she paints the light illuminating a garden
the singing birds and dragonflies

as she tries to remember
all the people she has been

by Victoria Twomey

Editor’s Note: The repetition of the photo imagery in this poem weaves a thread throughout a life’s narrative, with all its difficult truths and lovely discoveries.


One response to “Unfolding by Victoria Twomey”

  1. Dave Williams Avatar

    Numerous strong images and phrases assist this in effectively capturing the passage of time, like, “she paints the light illuminating a garden” and “he holds a teddy bear and picture of his absent father.”

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