I stare at their faces in the photograph.
Two young girls,
so much alike they could be twins,
standing on either side of their father.
Pressed white dresses with
shoulders starched like tiny wings.
He sits, arms crossed, on a wooden chair
dragged from its usual spot at the table
to this place beneath the rose trellis.
When I peer into this garden scene
my body is flooded with sadness
at the loss between them, its weight
shadowing their eyes
their downturned lips
his lazy smirk.
somewhere in the world
too tired, too broken, too ashamed
Her departure already shaping them.
I imagine the way they must
vigilantly listen for her voice.
Darning their socks, shining his shoes,
washing her red enamel cup again and again.
Their unknowable future blooming before them.