The Fieldstone Review

Coelacanth


Grey and scraped like the snow
from the wheels of the old blue car,
the portrait of my ancestor wants to loosen
the more I stare at her. Hovering over the table,
it hides the story, the loss of her
middle and third finger in the machinery at the factory.
Couldn’t look at any kind of motor again. She was
the pianist of Musquodobit road, played tunes for the vets
to wobble home to. We found her cramped and packed
up under the TV stand, her hand reaching out from a scene
at the water. In the albums, photos of her mythical walks
to the mailbox, or in a crab apple tree. We pulled her out

of the drawer of our grandmother’s Singer, unwrinkled
her skirt and she seemed to stop and consider herself
in our features, seeing if anything about her had re-emerged
after disappearing down the line, parts
of herself she might have admired. We took her in

and left her to the mercy of Zellers’ One Hour Photo,
wondered if the processing might betray her, or choose
the right shade of green for her eyes. Restoring something as old
as these passed-down photos would take longer, maybe more
than an hour. Our grandmother thought the price was too dear,
but wouldn’t it be nice to see her singing with the Players
hanging from her mouth, or see her swim up again
in the years that are depths ago.