Late April 194- : Louisiana

As sparrows hang down
From their high straw home in the attic
—Neither mothballs nor fine-meshed wire
Can keep them out—
We line up for the portrait
You have come to take of us this blue afternoon.

Three months my wife has clamored
For this stubborn record of ourselves
Caught out here on our own ground
With the spring fields wet
Behind us and the giddy sparrows
Banking overhead and the two dogs leaping.

Under the capable trees we line up
And smile for the shutter, my small daughter
Braced in one arm, my son in bare feet
Looking up to his mother who has turned
At the wrong moment to see
The horse coming up in his jittery harness.

So it will go, gummed up
Like everything else in the family book,
The date smudged below in blackest ink,
Indelible, a scene of three smiles
And a woman’s head sidewise to the sun
In a circle of blurred beasts.

Elton Glaser
from his book Peripheral Vision
A Bits Chapbook, 1979

Used with permission of the poet.

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