2016 Barrett Winner
1st Place Kara Frank
It happened not long after I came into this world,
after we had become whole
Those four cherub faces, eyes sparkling and all matching
Mother and Father looking on
A perfect couple,
complimenting one another
His jet black hair slicked back
He’s wearing a crisp clean collar,
His tie straight as an arrow
Her bright smile behind her raven hair,
a golden fleur de lis, pinned on her three button jacket.
Their arms surrounding us,
holding us in this moment
Captured briefly, it’s my only proof
I see myself in my sisters and brother
We share the same smile,
that look of innocence.
Seeing them makes me envious, jealous
Having memories I will never share in
Only fragments and fleeting glimpses of our past—
The snowy Christmas in ’95
Our summer trips to the Toledo Zoo
Dad propping me on his shoulders,
as we pick apples at the old orchard.
Mom playing her Kawai piano while Dad is
twirling his eldest daughter around his finger
Not long after we were finally together
Suddenly, we weren’t.
The empty chair at family dinners,
Distant wavering phone calls,
ending in anguish and frustration.
The fabric of our household untwining,
Our everlasting bond shattered.
The uncertainty of who we were to become.
I was too young, we were too young.
But we developed into something better.
Through it all we have always been family.
Even now, we are still those cheery faces in the portrait
Proving that it takes more than just a photograph to keep
a family together