The two of them
grin on the beach
Daddy squints into the sun,
head tilted toward Mother.
He’s tan, trim—“buff”—
to design machines
that perforate paper;
that measure out segments
then cut them short.
He will free himself from the denials
of the Depression
and die in twenty years.
Mother faces the lens head-on,
sturdy in her candy-striped one-piece suit.
She will live forty years more without him—
twice again the age she is in the photograph.
He died young
She, old and ill,
disappointed by a life that delivered few of its promises.
This, a black-and-white reminder:
Early death is not the worst possible end.
Cameron Spencer lives in Savannah, Georgia, where she writes short stories and poetry.