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The Face I Never Knew
By Jessica Gail Lawrence
Copyright 2000 Jessica Gail Lawrence

 A poem about the writer's thoughts of her mother as seen in an old photograph.
I found a photo
of you mom,
lost in a book
when I was
cleaning out
your apartment
after you could
no longer live alone,
You were sitting
on a bench with
your two sisters,
Ida and Becky.
You were young,
and beautiful,
your face filled
with expectation.
Your eyes were
soft brown, the
color of your hair.
your skin, pale perfection,
wrapped around delicate bones
framed in a brimmed hat.
You wore a sailor blouse,
the fashion of the day.
The back of the photo read,
"Ida's graduation, 1932."
That was long before you
met and married the men
who would change you.
One, a pharmacist, whose
Yearbook said of him
"he wouldn't give a
goldfish water."
The other man, my dad,
women said was "handsome and charming,
hid his violence in
our speechless walls.
You didn't know about
your future that day
sitting happily with
two of your sisters.
How I would have
loved to sit beside you
on that bench.
we could have talked
about dreams, expectations
and how to hold on to hope
after your heart is broken.