My mother in a red coat, reclining
in the prow of a gray row boat. Gray all around.
Gray the sky. Gray the water. Gray her eyes,
although my father always called them blue.
This, in their fiftieth year together–
the children grown and gone–my father unseen
behind the camera. My mother’s look coquettish
and young as any lover in this autumn shot.
Thirty years later, ten years past his death–
her health gone, four of seven children gone, gone
that bloom about her which even I, the youngest,
remember–she wastes in bed to skin and broken bone.
Your father was a keeper, she states one day
for no apparent reason. Him being only Father to me
I fail to understand. Until, when going through her things,
I pull this photo, whole, from a box of ruined prints.
Christina Lovin is the author of the chapbooks, What We Burned for Warmth and Little Fires (# 55 in the New Women’s Voice Poetry Series from Finishing Line Press). An award-winning poet, her work is widely published and anthologized. Recently named the Emerging Poet by the Southern Women Writers’ Conference, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New England College. Lovin teaches college writing courses and presents writing workshops in and around Central Kentucky She is the recipient of several artists’ grants from the Kentucky Arts Council (most notably a 2007 Al Smith Fellowship) and the Kentucky Foundation for Women.