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.

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