By Gwen Tuinman

There you are
baseline progeny upon which I am graded.

Black velvet saddle shoes, white leotard
grass stains streaking one knee.
Sunday straw hat, elastic chin strap
cutting into the pudge of your
not-yet-freckled skin.
July sun burning those blue eyes.

Smile pretty
     smile harder
          now hold it.

Aperture yawns
Three decades freeze frame while
I rearrange your limbs, correct your words
pour my soul into instructing you on
who to be, how to be
so someone will want you.
Shutter closes—you sidestep.
What am I without you?

There you are
No more she’s-not-yours tug of war; he’s gone.

Dusty rose second-time-around wedding dress
pennywise cloth flowers and bows
Pale skin made paler by
a shade-too-dark hair colour
You seem happy, but still—
who could get a good picture of you today?

Smile pretty
     smile harder
          now hold it.