From Daguerreotypes

ix. The Scrapbook

Box upon box
and if I sift
finally through the glued
blackpaper backing of the

older prints, I can mesh
a time of birth against
a time of death or pride

or fate unless
I decide to take them out

and consider each pose
embellished with bits
of ribbon and twine

vellum through soft
pea-green and amber-
fine papers I hoard
and slash with the
straightest edge

Did they ever think
their lives would come
to this

x. My Parents. January 1960

I have decided
to make a book
for my mother - salt

of earth these near-
nineteen years, and still
I find ways

to commemorate some sad
wisp of want that can't
be filled with craft or art

I have done this before,
with words, but now

as much as
the scrap-
booking sales
assistant tells
me "journal! journal
around your photos!"

instead I want a
collage without words

I begin with
stock that I layer
and cut and paste
and twist until

my hands can grasp
a history which
is not my own

on this page
I have chosen
pale vellum
and colors that
don't match

and on them I have placed
two faded prints:
my mother

and my father
a year her junior

they embrace
the clock behind them
the simplicity of their kiss

iii. Harry Marine, 1942

My grandmother
stands proud
for once beside

my grandfather dressed
as a Marine in World

War II, his hat
jaunts above a face

lined with something
she will not see

for decades hence
over them drifts
on this tableau of sun

the shadow of the

her coat all dark
angles and sharp elbows

Rosemarie Koch

If you've any comments on this poem, Rosemarie Koch would be pleased to hear from you.

Previous poems in this sequence were in Snakeskin 83 and Snakeskin 90