Carolyn Wing Greenlee


••• Pictures •••


My dad always took pictures of people.
Even in Yosemite,
his frames were filled with faces.

I was not that myopic.
I shot flowers
autumn leaves
snow dusted peaks
glistening lakes
and clouds

Now, sorting through photos
looking for the “recent color picture”
they match to the shell in the box
I flip through mylar
page after interminable page of
flowers, trees, leaves, and clouds
my eyes sore
still seeking
his little skinny
crooked shape
his hands
his cap
his skinny little


Carolyn Wing Greenlee

11-10-10, 11-17-10, 11-18-10

© Copyright 2010 Carolyn Wing Greenlee. All rights reserved.


  1. Dan

    January 19, 2011 - 2:22 PM

    I love this poem. I love what it says and I love how you read it, and I’m grateful that you had the guts to post it. Real loss. Real grief. Real regret.

    “his little skinny
    crooked shape
    his hands
    his cap
    his skinny little

    Makes me cry every time. But it helps me set a level of priority before it’s too late. What’s my mind (my camera) focused on? Such is the power of poetry. Good poetry, that is. Thank you.

    • Carolyn

      January 19, 2011 - 7:24 PM

      There’s always a risk in publishing something so raw. I grew up in the days when cameras backed discreetly away when the person began to lose composure. These days the cameras zoom in. So much for privacy! But you have understood it well. Your comments remind me of the photograph of the agonized co-ed weeping beside the body of her fallen classmate at Kent State. Her grief still affects me. As the daughter of a Confucian scholar, being this open with my pain is painful in itself. I certainly don’t want to make people feel bad or sorry for me! But if it makes them rethink their priorities and treasure each other more, then I believe it has earned its right to a place in the public eye. I appreciate your well-considered comments. You have understood this poem very well.

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