19 June, 2011


When I saw
the photo of myself
I squirmed
for only a moment
then looked straight at it.

I saw a gray man
with a crooked smile,
my father’s face looking back at me,
sporting a half-mouth grin
I’d only ever seen in one photograph
from Korea, green before first combat
in his uniform,
his whole platoon around him,
his hair short, his eyes bright,
nine years before my birth.

In the picture he’s smirking
as if he knew even then
that his son would someday come
to a similar moment of recognition
and amused resignation,
a moment of humor
before a terrifying future,
that my face
would inevitably become his
in spite of all my years of being certain
that if I just kept my head down
and did everything he never did,
I could keep such a thing
from ever happening.

I wonder if he knew
that it would take this long.

~ ~ Tony Brown