Blues for an Old Photograph
Girl, if you knew what was coming, you’d flee.
Girl, I know you will suffer and grieve,
and curl on the floor like a witchetty grub, and bleed.
Young. You are young,
and strong – you’re strong. Just
never enough, or for long.
Cross your arms on your chest – that’s right.
Cross your just-begun breasts – keep ’em tight.
They’ll attract attention much sooner than you’ll like.
If I could tell you what was coming, would that help?
If I told you what was coming,
would I remain this self?
Girl, you’ll go a long away from here.
Girl, so many things will disappear
but some part of you will stay anchored now and here.
Girl in a grass-tree headdress,
Girl, gonna get yourself in eighteen different kinds of mess,
but none of it will kill you – quite
– and you’ll wear my scars yet.
Believe it or not, this began with a ReadWritePoem ‘Random Writing Tip’, which began: “Pretend an event in your life needs explanation…” What event in my life doesn’t need explanation?!! Which to pick, where to start, what to choose?
And so I went looking for photos, and found this one. And started writing. And wrote something else entirely. Oh well, the prompt for today was a photo. (Just not this photo.)
I apologise for the sentimentality of it. It is a self-indulgent poem. I’m torn myself between wanting to hug the girl in the photo, and wanting to slap her a few times …