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Notes on a Found Photo

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There are trees in the background. I don't know the names
of trees, so let's call them by the names of 19th-century
baseball players. Joseph Tinker casts an elongated
shadow. Harry Addilton is huge, round at the base; I doubt

I could wrap my arms around him. Acorns scattered in grass
at his feet, all of them completely eaten. Hmm,
I can't recall more names of famous 19th-century
baseball players, so let the rest of the stand of trees

be named for ancestors; there's green Meshack Jessup
who ferried recruits through the mountains to Union
lines. That one with the bark stripped around the trunk
is Dollie Shelton Dalton. I only know her

name and when she died. Also, the names of her children,
how they earned a living--and their offspring--some I've seen
photos I take that back. I know more than
her name and when she died. But, if only name, date,

that's something, more than most. In the foreground
of the photo with trees named for baseball players
and ancestors is a large man in a green shirt.
His expression is half-smile, lips pursed, as if miming

a kiss, or sucking his teeth. His eyes smile more than
his mouth. Sits in a dinner chair, head cocked, a child
on each knee. The man in the green shirt is imagining you.
I don't know his name or when he died.

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post #184
bio: john ball

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April - National Poetry Month 2007

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