My Mother’s Scrapbook
used to have ivory trim around the front cover,
small delicate etchings, lines like calligraphy,
the center image a plain slab of navy blue, almost wine.
It had ten or eleven pages of my sister and me, photos of us
as children in piles of leaves and sand castles, crib-held
as infants and sometimes, we were overlarge white t-shirts.
But when we pulled it out of our burned house’s remains, it was
black. A slate of grained-ash and charcoal; bronzed.
Most of the photos boiled, their ink bleeding through the pages.
We took time to air it out behind the small hotel that we were allowed
to stay in, the smell of burning in each crisp turn of the pages,
in the edges that cracked and chipped like eggshell. Mother was careful
to ease the book into a new, plastic casing. She carried it from house
to house as we moved through the years –an old china cabinet, rustic
walnut shelves, plastic drawers – each of us carefully inspecting
every page, trying to guess what the photos used to be as we unpacked
our boxes of relics, each new home making it harder to look. But here,
in the new house we call home, none of us can remember where it went
or the last time we saw it. Mother and I go down to the basement,
cleaning the dust and silt out of the damp, musty corners before
we find it slid in between my memory box and a wall of cobwebs.
We sit down on a couple of totes, brush the grit off the cover before
opening it slowly, earnestly; we try to guess each photo again – castles
of sand, my sister and I in leaves – but we barely recognize what’s there.
By Tyler Gadaire
First published by Eunoia Review
A native of Aroostook County in Maine, Tyler Gadaire is a 23-year-old graduate of the Univ. of Maine Farmington’s Creative Writing and English program. Tyler’s poetry has been published in Z-Publishing’s Emerging Writer Series, Asterism and Eunoia Review. Tyler is currently working on a draft of his first poetry chapbook.