John Delaney

Two Photos (1951, 2010)

All of us face the firing camera
as if nothing mattered, only smiles did.
I was barely two, and the three of you,
in pigtails and bangs and party dresses,
could boast of six and nine and almost twelve.
Poor baby brother, I was the spoiled kid.

To reach the other photo, each had to cross
a crevasse, a chasm, a grand canyon
of sixty years. In formal dress, two clasp
wine glasses, all link arms to celebrate,
with white hair, a beard, three colored hairstyles,
surviving divorces, children, careers—
yet mostly time, that promised nothing back when
nothing mattered. But no one knew that then.

John Delaney is the author of Waypoints (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2017), a collection of place poems, and Twenty Questions, a chapbook (Finishing Line Press, 2019). He moved to Port Townsend, Washington, after retiring as curator of historic maps at Princeton University. He’s traveled widely, preferring remote, natural settings, and is addicted to kayaking and hiking.



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