The Photograph

by Dan Burns

The photograph, more than forty years old,
lays clean and flat like a monocle
reflecting the sands of time.
The white border is discolored,
yellowed from the fire of 1970 that permanently
stained the inanimate and animate alike.

The living room sits in a different time, the furniture pieces like dinosaurs
trapped in the throes of a late 1950’s art deco diorama,
a forgotten strain of decor only available from the discount stores in town.
A color palette long-since buried, put down and out of its misery
until the cycle comes full circle, a birth in exchange for a death, and
I can only wish, hope, that it never sees the light of day again.

On the wall are two birds, lost and almost fluttering,
hand carved out of some unnatural material, and somehow,
surprisingly present in an unusually large number of
family photographs over the years.
Where did the birds come from and
what do they want?



Dan Burns is the author of the story collection, No Turning Back, and the novel, Recalled to Life. In addition to writing novels, short stories, and poetry, he also writes screenplays for the big screen. His forthcoming novel, A Fine Line, is a mystery set in his hometown of Chicago.