I have a picture of us when we are seven
but we aren’t in it. At the time it was taken
we thought we were. We posed with our wide
grins and best-friends-forever certainty. I angled
the camera to capture us in front of a Christmas tree.
All the sparkling tinsel and dangling silver balls aren’t there.
There is only the ceiling and the tip
of the pine needle. There isn’t a star or an angel
on top. I have kept this picture of us for years,
the only one to remember and laugh at what happened
to us then. It was taken before a time when you could
see a picture on a screen, see how it turned out
and decide whether it was worth keeping. I think of you
now and again, the plain peanut butter sandwiches we ate
with apples. You said you were going to be a dentist
when you grew up, and with a fork and a spoon
you determined it was possible I would live
and sent me home with a bag full of Twizzlers and hair bands.
Souvankham Thammavongsa’s “Gayatri” first appeared in the November 2015 issue of The Walrus, selected by Poetry In Voice Creative Director Damian Rogers in her role as poetry editor there.