Random Photograph
by Sean Lause

  1. It’s the two in the background
  2. who interest me.
  3. A young woman, brunette, pretty,
  4. in plain cloth coat. Holding
  5. her hand, a girl, say—eight?
  6. She clutches a violin case.
  7. They might be sisters.
  8. They are not the focus of the shot.
  1. Imagine: She takes lessons
  2. from a superb concert violinist
  3. currently in need of work.
  1. Imagine: The older one is well-
  2. educated, was once in love,
  3. yet something is gone from her eyes.
  4. Perhaps a childhood dream
  5. of studying art in Vienna.
  6. Perhaps a loss within a loss?
  7. It’s hard to tell in the world of the gone.
  1. The man is the camera’s intention.
  2. Tall, blonde. Eyes like a ferret.
  3. Say he’s wealthy. Look at those
  4. perfect, half-moon fingernails!
  5. Double-breasted suit of charcoal flannel,
  6. ring on his pinky, must be crystal blue.
  7. So he’s wealthy then. He’s speaking
  8. silence. His mouth forever open.
  1. Imagine: He’s a businessman. All business.
  2. Money in furs. But mostly synthetic rubber
  3. these days. Started with ashtrays,
  4. then expanded into affluence.
  5. His name? Gunther sounds good.
  1. But it’s the others who draw me in--
  2. nameless, barely in view,
  3. headed somewhere perhaps un-nameable.
  1. I found the photo in a rummage sale,
  2. lining the bottom of a moldy box.
  3. Owner: Unknown. No names. On back:
  4. “Leipzig, 1937.”
Packingtown Review – Vol.15, Spring 2021

In a past century Sean Lause is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. His poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review, The Alaska Quarterly, Another Chicago Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Blue Collar Review and Illuminations. His latest book of poetry is Midwest Theodicy (Taj Mahal Review, 2019).

  1. Holly Day
    The Lightpoetry