Dead Folks in Old Photographs

All they could do was act oblivious
holding their bodies still for the camera,
sometimes one of them thinking to move
and leave a blur for posterity.

Most just held their smiles, forever.
The young couple, he in a vest three
sizes too large, her in a flapper’s skirt
and Cloche hat, with a tulip in it.

Two sisters sitting on a low curb
above a dirt street, a horse behind them,
the sun casting their shadows diagonally
behind them like knives, or long fingers.

A squinting man outside a bus station
playing the guitar and singing.
A young boy in a bowler hat very close to the camera,
winking and sticking his tongue out.


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