In the center of the wall is a picture of you
in white, dress and veil fading in sunlight,
gathered flowers at your waist: a spray of violets
folded over itself -- wilted; beads trapped in hair, falling.
Above, children cup you in your chair:
seven stand around you, smiling,
though left there is an empty space
for the two born still, one whose breath stilled,
and the one whose insides flowered out,
burst like a valentine balloon caught
in a snapshot at its rare implosion: a memory
trapped in the cellophane leaves of an album.
Other frames spread from the center, hinged
to cracking plaster: glass splitting, mats molting
and grey with volcanic ash, wood in need of dusting
or repair. All moments that confine
a husband who left early, a mother
who lived in, aunts who imitate all their daughters;
blonde daughters-in-law, twelve grandchildren,
babies teetering on swollen knees. And you,
centered in a family
folded over itself,
gathered at your waist.
© Christina Salme Ruiz