Sepia Photograph
by Gloria Bennett

She keeps the worn
sepia photograph
in a red hatbox,
well hidden now
on the top shelf
of her own clothes closet.
She believes red to be
the color of love.

But the first time
she ever laid eyes on it,
it was in another bedroom,
in a house from her childhood,
in a black and gray shoebox,
attached to some papers she
didn’t then know how to read.

After all these years,
seemingly forgotten,
she takes it down once more
on yet another anniversary,
to search for signs of similarities
in the features of this stranger.

But there is nothing
she recognizes
in the face of this woman
who on this date decades ago
gave up all rights to be her mother.

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