Album, August 1938-1944

Summer vacation—
a picnic at the lake
lazy beer bottles and drifting cigarette ash
charcoal of the barbecue
the cousins in their bathing suits
the cooler of ice they must have bought specially
for the day—the air hazy,
the weather unusually warm.

Radiant like an old-time movie star,
my grandmother sits on the hood of the car
with a boy who no one recognizes anymore—

And then the slimmer skirts,
cut to save cloth—
that boy again—
in uniform—
the war.

Somewhere, there must be letters to explain
photos shot from the window of a plane—
a bombardier’s sleeve against the Pacific
and below, bright sudden pinpricks of flame.

She’d meant to write in the names,
some slow Sunday afternoon,
when she’d have time to sit in soft lamplight
and pencil memories onto pages
as the television murmured—

In one photo,
she sits with her back to the camera,
bare-shouldered in her summer dress,
knees tucked up to her chest

a blur like a halo round her hair—
as if she were about to turn—
as if someone had called her name—





frisellaphotoEmily Frisella grew up in Oregon and now lives in New York. She writes poetry and nonfiction, and takes a special interest in the intersections of literature, pop culture, history, and politics. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Foundry, The Adroit Journal, 30 N, The Establishment, GOOD, The Wellesley Review, and Oxford University’s The Isis Magazine.