Published Work of Miriam C. Jacobs

Home » POETRY » “Photograph,” Nostalgia Magazine, March 2006

“Photograph,” Nostalgia Magazine, March 2006

POETRY

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OPhotograph

It must be Sunday.  It is 1930, certainly.  I know
because my father, characteristically calm, is a baby.
My grandfather supports him in the crook of his elbow,
and leans against a church playground slide,
one ankle crossed over the other.  His smile is cocky, his hat tipped jauntily
off center.  His pocket sags, heavy with coin, or a Sunday flask
or maybe a gun.
This was Oklahoma, after all, the untamed west.
A gust unsettles the collar of my grandmother’s dress.
She wears a string of pearls and a flapper-style hat.
It looks like a pilot’s cap, with its dangling chin strap.
I suppose flight was so much the rage, that year,
even ladies’ millenary was caught up.
She sports open-toe pumps, and squints a bit
into the sun.
Did my grandfather guess, then, that he would hold his construction business through
the Depression, employ his fellow townsmen, among them a high school student,
my father, who would earn fifty cents an hour, a good wage?
The money kept him in hamburgers and movie tickets year round.
He even had a car to drive.
No wonder he was class president
if high grades and dependable personality wouldn’t do it.
My grandfather kept an office down by the Elk City depot.
I’ve seen it, a tiny brick building in a dirt yard,
anonymous now, but, perhaps incredibly,
still standing.

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