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Lost Photograph

I wish I knew what happened to the photograph

of my father and me that my younger brother took

when we were in our twenties, maybe

still in college, home for Thanksgiving.

We were helping our father cut firewood,

a ritual since we were boys, though back then

we didn’t do much more than tag along.

Maybe Dad and I were already out in the woods,

and Jeremy was catching up,

listening for the chainsaw to find us.

Maybe we were gathering the logs

and loading them into the back of the Jeep

as he approached with his camera,

thinking he’d surprise us—

but Dad and I spontaneously turned

and in unison gave him the finger

with our hands encumbered by work gloves

just at the instant he snapped the shutter.

My brother printed the photo and gave it to me,

a black-and-white five-by-seven—

too big for an album, and never framed.

I haven’t seen that photograph in years.

I’ve looked for it but can’t find it anywhere.

Maybe some day I’ll open a book

and it will fall out, surprising me once more

in the way it catches my father and me

united in a moment of buffoonery,

our smiles showing through our phony glares.

from Between Lakes
Find more by Jeffrey Harrison at the library

Copyright © 2020 Jeffrey Harrison

Used with the permission of Four Way Books.

Published in Jeffrey Harrison Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.