An inheritance of images piled haphazardly
in the suitcase with worn corners,
roaches chewing their way
into the hoard of negatives and photographs,
nesting next to those images of grays
and stark whites and blacks like smudges of charcoal.
All those photographs whose tones have faded
like a pile of slippery fish losing their color,
still stored in that suitcase like random statements,
no doubt curling from the heat,
needing to be flattened and then straightened
in order of exposure like facts in a story.
The last time at the old house in
I pull the suitcase from under the bed,
being brave enough to open it, finding
myself sometime later, elbows on knees,
each hand holding an irregular stack,
becoming aware in the fading light
that no one alive can date all these statements,
can over the paralyzing randomness,
the piercing stillness of these lively images.
Opening the old brown suitcase
is acknowledging long ago everydayness,
flinging open long closed doors and windows,
seeing broken fingernails along sealed cracks,
the feeling of someone approaching,
bringing years tough and septia-washed,
the creak of imagined footfalls in the hallway
like a jolt from bad wiring on a Christmas tree.