She was gone
before I could even comprehend what death was.
for the longest time
she was just the one who could never sit
still for a picture
and for years a picture is all I wanted to see.
My mom found one
buried deep within a bin
in the back of her closet,
In one of her enormous photo albums
faded into a muddy watermelon green.
The image was nestled
between my eight year old gapped-tooth uncle
and a mini me in a bright yellow sundress
with glittering sandals to match.
I carefully pulled out the image
of the woman I could not remember
but knew I still loved.
There was a crease right down the middle
were it had been folded.
It split her face
like wrinkled white veins splitting into perfect symmetry.
Her hair was the color of a stormy sky
She wore an oversized sweater, the darkest shade of red,
Lines stretched from the corners of her face
“Mommy she has your eyes,” I noted
Big, round, and observant
The color of melted milk chocolate on a sunny afternoon.
I looked back down at the image
for any sign of familiarity.
All I wanted was to remember.
My mom placed her hands on my shoulders,
“They’re yours too,” she said
and she moved me over
to face the mirror
Maybe that was all I ever needed to know.