Mar 26


My father stores photos online.
He has them in folders,
labelled neatly by the year and the month,
and sometimes a title.
More often than not, it's just
plain, but fitting.

The memories are miscellaneous,
scattered like pine needles
from sawed off trees,
decorated in shiny bulbs.
They're fleeting,
darting off into the horizon line
like our dogs with a dropped leash.

There is a folder with my name on it,
2008-02 Lonna.
I'm in Tae Kwon Do,
testing for my green belt.
My hair is the same bob it is now,
although it has passed through several phases.
She has the same smile,
tight lipped and shiny eyed.

Something about the coloring screams nostalgia.
It might be the whiter whites,
or the glossy overexposures,
because sometimes I'm convinced
life has passed me by in a flash
and the pale brights emphasize that.
The warm tones
point out my tan skin
and my family's pale.
That's okay.

The next folder is the same date.
2008-02 Lonna TKD Testing.
There is a photo of me kicking,
the smooth wooden board still.
The next is it snapped in half.
My sister must have taken the next two portraits,
I remember vaguely her babbling on
about effects she could put on.
There is a blue border.

There are instant photos
scanned in from my time at Camp.
My sister's eighth grade graduation was days before,
so those were sprinkled in too.

As time passed,
the photos become sparser.
Folders smaller and thinner.
I think we forgot to take the photos.
The photos became practical,
less focused on the family,
the cabin on the lake,
the cat that showed up in our yard,
the kittens she had,
the kittens we gave to friends,
the kitten we kept,
my snaggle-toothed dog
months before we put him down,
the tree my dad needed to cut down,
the sunsets on my dad's sailboat.

The most recent folder is of me.
There are streaks of orange.
A sea of faces.
Intricate signs.
And a video of my friend,
sobbing behind the phone
as I stand on the steps of the statehouse.
I laugh at her screaming my name.
I laugh at the girls chanting something about me being a poet.
I'm smiling and I'm laughing.
I take a deep breath
and begin to speak.

We switched to videos.
And they feel even realer.