Today Is a Photograph
All the children
my sister has left
kneeling in a garden.
It is an orange spider
crushed between their teeth,
to each other’s hungers.
We know better than to have
Today is not a crown
it is a forceps, the sunken
flower of my sister's waist.
Today it only took a minute
to discover who among us was cruel.
Before her morning salatr, my sister digs
her feet in a lake. By winter,
blue throated robins
will have gathered.
Today is one place to bury a child
and what you say after.
Or else today is just domestic work.
How her bare feet touched mine,
the fern finding its way
back to life. Today is the scar I put on
her thigh. God, a man
who will always be hungry.
Kiss her, and the throne looks
empty. Today my sister
is a door put on backwards.
But maybe, snow finds the cypress.
Or the cancer
Or maybe today is just another day
between the small
So many times
I have pulled my sister's bones apart.
Took the femur
from the tibia. I buried my sister
in the backyard; can't tell you
how long I have knelt
to this regret.
Today my sister’s teeth are slats
on the broken bridge between us.
Doing dishes we bare our elbows
one sleeve at a time
and today is her husband’s
stain on the bed sheets,
whatever name dark has learned to call itself.
We were like our parents today,
having our enemies name
Copyright © 2014 by Hafizah Geter. “Today Is a Photograph” originally appeared in Narrative Magazine. Reprinted with permission of the author.
Hafizah Geter was born in Zaria, Nigeria, and received her BA in English and economics from Clemson University and her MFA in poetry from Columbia College Chicago.
Date Published: 2017-11-13
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/today-photograph