Beach pictures, 1954

The stamp on the backs reads July 12th,
Photos faded to green
Ripening to sepia edges.
Only reds are vivid. The sea grays
To a dark line marking the sky.

Aunt Thelma and Uncle Dimps stand on dunes
Scattered with sea oats, her towel limp
Against a thigh, the flounce of her suit.

Joy studies the sand. I etch something
In the air, my hair a tousled wedge.
Mother tucks legs for the pose.

In another, my aunt grasps my sister’s arm—
Laurene, the first to die. Two of us
Lock arms, stoop when waves break.

She stands alone, already separating herself.