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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