Cherie Hunter Day
“July 1960” is stamped on the back of the Kodacolor print, each corner stained a glossy amber from old tape adhesive. Three names are written in blue fountain pen—Mom, my sister, and me. We are outside the backdoor of the old farmhouse when it was painted grey. Mom and I are in summer cotton dresses. My sister is wearing a dark navy swing coat and she is holding a large handbag. With the other hand she grasps the cuff to straighten the outfit underneath. I can almost see her shrug her shoulder just after the shutter clicks. She and Mom are locked in eye contact. They are the same height in heels. From the slight drop in the angle of their heads and the tension in both jaw lines there is heat between them. Mom’s slender body leans away from my sister towards me with her weight on her right foot. She drapes her arm around my neck and her hand nestles under my chin. Her left arm hangs limp at her side.
My birthday is in July and so was my parent’s wedding anniversary but this isn’t a party shot. My sister is leaving. She is dressed for inclement weather: the yelling, the weeping like heavy rain.
Published in The Unseen Wind: British Haiku Society Haibun Anthology 2009, Lynne Rees and Jo Pacsoo (Editors), British Haiku Society.