Sepia and faded the past is watching me,
eyes following my moves. The old portrait
tells me in every angle of the room
that I am not alone here as I dust.
Her eyes beg me to stay. I must.
How did she do that hair, I wonder, did she
shape it every morning in that way
or just on special days, like
when they had the photo made?
What was her life about? But she can’t say.
For minutes she and I connect,
and for a moment I am her:
a woman anxious for the lens
as it may take her soul away.
I feel the blame – did I disturb her grief?
I smile and now her lips seem curved.
I leave the room to go on with my day
but she stays in my mind, ancestor with my name.