I stare right at the camera and wrap
My legs and arms around my father,

Who looks at a spot on the auditorium
Floor somewhere between the photographer and

My mother, with the kind of peripheral vision
I learned at Grand Coteau basketball camp

Six summers in a row. One eye on the ball, one eye
On your “man,” foot on the baseline, palms up,

Knees bent, weight on the balls of your feet, prepared
For the steal. If my father was on guard even then,

It’s no wonder his heart gave out. But his smile seems relaxed
Through the salt-n-pepper scruff my mother swore

She’d scrape off herself when the beard
Growing contest at Sacred Heart was done.

My hair is at its longest, too, swipes
My shoulders, like a deflected touch.

Blown up bigger than a glossy 3X5,
This remnant blurs into lint, into a fiction.


Martha Serpas
from her book Cote Blanche
New Issues Poetry and Prose. Kalamazoo, MI. 2002
Used by permission of the poet.

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