Not in the Photo (1954) by Sydney Lea

Not in the Photo (1954)

day lilies parched by flaking whitewashed walls
pale gourd hung on the porch . . . .drab wrens inside
inside a hiss of cooking in smutted pans
we don’t toss a baseball or wrestle my brothers and I
a far train huffs

my mother . . . .our father . . . .an uncle . . . .our tiny grandma
her setter arthritic . . . .wheezing in August weather
weather-browned fields . . . .a shallow failing well
these things I remember couldn’t be posed together
black steers tear

through pasture wire again to wander and blunder
the uncle does the same old trick with the coins
the coins disappear . . . .none of us brothers cares
lazy vultures aloft on the lookout for ruin
haze-gray air

by Sydney Lea

Editor’s Note: In this poem, the title introduces the reader to the concept of memory with all of its imperfect recall, and the poem’s fragmented imagery finishes the lesson.


2 responses to “Not in the Photo (1954) by Sydney Lea”

  1. richardsund Avatar

    A very beautiful haunting poem. Very visually clear and it also confronts us with our mortality.At least, it did for me. And it is concise, too.

    1. richardsund Avatar

      I forgot to say that a flock of crows is called a murder of crows ! Very well named, no ?

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