A poem by Souvankham Thammavongsa
Another Picture of Us
Maybe it was me who had taken this picture. My parents
are looking at the camera, unsmiling, serious, my father’s
arm over my mother’s shoulder. I know this picture is taken
at their friend’s house. Behind them are photographs of other
people. My mother’s shoes match her red leather belt and lips.
They are kitten heels. It’s cold. They are wearing sweaters.
The photo isn’t very clear. Dark. Maybe the flash had been
turned off. This photo had been tucked in behind another one.
It was one still intact of the two of them. I am trying to take
what I know now and try to see if I can find it here. Had it
happened here on this day or did it come apart years after.
They are the same height, all dressed up, somewhere to go.
A party, a wedding. Maybe there will be some dancing.
I hope where they are going, they will have fun and remember
all of it. I hope they remember how they were together and who
they were with. I hope they remember their love, the comfort of it,
the way it feels to know you have it. I can’t see them together
like this anymore. But here we are, together, for once.
Souvankham Thammavongsa is appearing at the Vancouver Writers Festival October 2019.
“Another Picture of Us” from CLUSTER by Souvankham Thammavongsa, Copyright c 2019 Souvankham Thammavongsa. Reprinted by permissions of McClelland & Stewart, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. All rights reserved.
Photograph courtesy of Souvankham Thammavongsa.