Ready Made Ancestors
Nameless faces creased on cardboard
Stare up at me from a scarred metal box.
Stopping to make their acquaintance,
I gently dust them off
And begin to imagine lives
For the brothers half-disguised by sweeping moustaches,
For the girl whose teasing eyes don’t fit her straight -lined mouth,
For the tiny sailor who hasn’t yet tasted the ocean,
And for the stern-shawled matriarch who has seen too much.
The reunion interrupted,
They take joy in making me guess,
But give nothing away.
Unable to explain
How they came to be abandoned
Into a company of strangers.
Yet, silently offering a past
To those willing to adopt them.