family portrait 70s
Trying to look cheerful. Our last family portrait before our parents divorced.
There are more of us.. We came out of a time when birth was happy.
We are prizes. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been so important,
so healthy. If any of us suffered war, we were pained less by the
enemy than by our ability to kill him.
Our number seems a useless power. We were sold on
dissatisfaction -- now we’re sold families but they’re no sign of
survival this time.
I am very lucky but that’s not life. And maybe no more than
any person born in any year, I want but don’t know what, feel
unsettled in a sea of similarly restless faces. The breadth of
possibility makes choosing seem evasive. We decide but we are
slow and small with doubts.
It was 1954 when my parents moved to have room for me. I
remember a box my mother packed for me to store at school,
filled with canned milk and soup and Hershey bars.
Two thousand good nights. My checked uniform on a hook.
My face to the hall light because that felt like a day in the sun.
Not fear, not loneliness, but my preference for sleeping near the
window and near the floor, humming.
~ Killarney Clary
“Who Whispered Near Me?”