SONNET, WITH TWO STRANGERS
1. Last year, my mother sent me a framed photo. This was a strange act. Perhaps there are other families that exchange snapshots. And other families who send framed photos to one another. But that is not my family. 2. This framed photo is the only one that I have ever received from my mother. 3. The only one I’ve ever received from anybody in my immediate, extended, or imaginary families. 4. In the black-and-white photo, my mother and father stand together. He holds her close. His hand touches her waist, just below her breast, in a gesture that is shockingly intimate. 5. I don’t recall ever seeing my mother and father kiss each other. She is seventy-six years old now and my father is eight years dead. 6. How old are they in this photo? Twenty-five maybe. My father has already gone to fat but my mother is thin and gorgeous. 7. Of course, I look like both of them. 8. Say hello to my father's jowls and my mother's eyes. 9. But this photo contains more than just my parents. There are two other Indian men. One guy looks young and rather Asian. The other is damned amazing with a cigarette hanging like a dream from his lips. I’m not a smoker, but the utter coolness of that cigarette could probably turn some other non-smoker into a two-pack-a-day fiend. 10. Soon after I received this photo, I emailed my mother and asked her about the two strangers. 11. “Who are they?” I wrote. “I don’t know,” she wrote back. “I don’t remember them at all. I just liked how your father and I look.” 12. O, in that photo, my father intimately touches my mother. My siblings and I were created by that touch. 13. Though I don’t know how much passion my parents felt for each other after I was born, I now have evidence of how much they wanted each other before I was born. 14. So I give thanks-I offer my gratitude-for my mother and father's hands and skin.
music by Trent Reznor
used by Creative Commons license