It is a quick deep dive into the past.
Clean. Holding a dusty scrapbook
full of yellowed newspaper clippings,
I find myself at fires, large and
small, dancing at a prom in 1940,
attending a trade show in New York.
A second dive goes deeper, finding
my own self, a fast slide along
stainless steel, past ranch houses
bearing forgotten names: Aucoin,
O’Donnell, Topham, Vanlandingham,
Tielli, McClendon, McKinney,
Martinez, Vienne, Jackson, Cupit,
Brown, McMinn, Nelson, Rebaldo,
Beelman, Magruder, all the names
crowding thick, obituary leaves
caught in the wind. A third dive
pushes deeper, into classrooms
and teachers smiling, more names
thrusting themselves in my face,
streets named for friends, flowers,
heroes and states. This dive touches
bottom, touching the darkest depth as
I break the surface into the sunlight.
Photograph by Petr Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.