What’s to Be Is Already Written
—My prize-winning ekphrastic poem, “What’s to Be Is Already Written,” inspired by the photo “Fading Memories” by Suzette Dushi, as part of the Griffin Museum of Photography’s exhibit entitled “Once Upon a Time: Photographs that Inspire Tall Tales”
in the sinews, in tibia and fibula, in the small
bracelet of wrist: this boy in a bathing suit
perched on a rock at shoreline. Trace the dark mane
of hair that crests over his studious eyes, trace
the hairless chest down his jaunty hands
resting lightly on his hips, as if he could hold
the whole ocean inside the crooks of his arms.
Turn, turn, and here beside him is the man
he will become, shirtless, seated, facing away
from the camera, his spine raised like a mountain ridge
above two valleys. Each vertebrae has been a long march.
I shall not want.
Slack skin eddies under his armpit.
In his narrow room: bedside table lamp,
bed with rumpled pillow,
Nursing home? Or spare bedroom like the one
my grandfather lived in for years, behind the kitchen
at my aunt’s house, shuffling in slippers and robe
heating up leftovers in a Pyrex dish, humming
tunelessly to himself. In the photo, this man
has lowered his nearly bald head (side of his face
in shadow), dreaming the boy on the rock, who
has been waiting for him all these years.