Cabinet Card, 1884
Cradled in sepia, nameless, perhaps five
with surreal eyes fixed into infernos.
Her pout holds a last breath, camera shy.
A girl on a deathbed, a casualty posed
on pale satin. Unseen, someone mourns
outside the frame, blisters their knees
so dimples again deepen, cheeks warm.
The loss bleeds into this century,
but there is something about her chin,
a resolve, as if a nursed will has outlasted
yellowing lace, sermons on fatherly sins,
and each staunch infirmity of the past.
An unbearable promise warps the print,
stares down pity with undying resentment.