Thursday, January 19, 2012

Which Year’s Magnolias

Which Year’s Magnolias

Picture frames kneel
or prop themselves up
on an elbow or with a
fist under the chin, senior
portrait-style. Inside
the frames, more posing,
smiles summoned and
held, eyelids lifted high
and eyes looking out
from the table, back at
those in the living room.
Little herds of framed
photos become sculptures
to those who often sit
in the room with them,
small rectangles with
painted surfaces. Faces
flatten into pattern, and
so does what happened,
the details of who took
which photo, which baby
is in the stroller or yet
unborn, which year’s
magnolias were so pink.


  1. Beautiful - I've run lately into the hint of a lot of thought about the loss of the past - the mortality of the immortal - in the karmic wheel sense. This version is touching because it takes the smallest, almost too small to be recognizable detail, and warpdrives it to that place where the lessons that were learned in the past by the earlier versions of ourselves have to be relearned again - tabula rasa. The flattening of pink magnolias.

  2. Gorgeous! Really love the sound in this one. I'm also particularly fond of the word "Magnolia."

  3. Love it, love the title. I have little herds of pictures/picture frames here and there in the house, behaving like this.

  4. Wow, the way this poem goes with that image, just perfect Hannah!

    I like the idea of "Faces flatten ito pattern, and so does what happened..."

  5. Another baseball bat to the head in your last sentence, but the poem is one of my favorites. I'm not sure you mean that such portraits are laughably syrupy, dopey, inane, and other bad things, so I'll say they are; I'll own that dark thought. In that context, your last sentence captures my very thought: what's been left out? When that impossibly romantic, optimistic photo was taken, how much and what was not foreseen?

  6. the last line like a delicate thread drawing the opening closed.


  7. "Little herds of framed photos become sculptures" is my favorite line.

    Photos in frames, seem to take on a life of their own; an identity separate even from the people in the frames-- but so do all objects in a room, and the ways they are grouped together form "relationships" between themselves and with the viewer.


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