1st Place Winner – Donatella Henry
“Family Photo Album”
Two tiny boys in Sunday suits melt in a dancing Florida heatwave.
Their eyes reflect the sun back onto itself, almost asking
“Now how do you like it?”
Last Thanksgiving, I sat across from the now not-so-tiny men.
One smelled of cigarette smoke and tiramisu teeth.
The other smelled of fine wine and an empty hotel room.
Tomato plants curl around a woman in a blue dress.
Her eyes are little black dots mocking the camera’s flash
And, once again, the sun makes a white dot appearance on her pupil.
When I was five, I ran up to hug her and got burned by her cigarette
Right between my ring and middle finger. My only memories of her:
A red circle burn and the blush they use on corpses to try and trick death.
A not-yet grandfather leans against his fresh-out-of-Vietnam car
As the sun does a swing dance across the beaming hood,
Glimpsing an awkward grin on the face of a man not usually photographed.
As he lies in a hospital bed after chemo curses, I close my eyes
And try to see him as a sunny swing-dance man. All I can see
Left in front of me are remnants of a fleeting grin.