On Looking At A Photo of My Mother

Deep boned, full-bodied smiles

reserved for family seen infrequently–

her abundant sisters and brothers,

and later, her sons, grown and gone,

on coming home again.


Guarded, wary smiles at jokes–

forced or succesful–

in front of friends and acquaintances,

veiling inner thoughts,

protecting her wounded heart.


Comfortable and contented smiles

reserved for he, alone, who won

her heart–welcomed home from work,

her hands laden with supper preparations,

sealed with a kiss.


Lifeless and feigned smiles

before the camera’s aperture–

lighting the mask, but not the heart,

hoping the world the best

but not surprised.


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