The camera clicks you smiling, standing at the edge,
Flirting with danger and with the photographer,
In your plaited hair and pleated skirt
Your teeth-embracing braces and with beads
Of sweat decorating your forehead.
This was long before our palms accidentally touched
In a library where you came to borrow books
And I to catch your eye.This was long before
Laughter slipped out of our lives
Unnoticed like an uninvited wedding guest.
Now you look back at the album
Like a child peering through barbed wire
And your eyes reflect an innocence
I last saw when grandmother, bent double
With age and wisdom, holding a broom
In the background of your snap
Shouting at you to move away from death,
Moved on herself with her memories–
And all the neighboring homes huddled together
Sharing a common sorrow and you sobbed.