A Photograph

They have no names so I name them:
Margaret, Mary, Therese — three girls
in ankle socks, with pale-skinned knees.
Two could be sisters, one delicate, one wild,
the third their dear companion who is camera-shy.
The youngest wears her white Communion dress.
Bare arms suggest it’s summer —
and as one girl looks away, one waves
from the melancholy side of the street
where mortar is loose between the bricks.
And even the bravest might hesitate to step inside
the shop of sundries, the house divided
between newlyweds who sleep under winter coats,
the tenants who could be next year’s ghosts.

From The Sundays of Eternity, Dedalus Press, 2020

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