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Contributor Series 11: On Birthdays, Maryanne

06.28.12 Posted in today's words by

Contributor Series 11: On Birthdays

By Isabel Sylvan

There’s a photograph of a birthday I don’t remember.
I was holding up three fingers for the camera
as if it were all an accomplishment. Not the turning
three but the being able to hold up the right number
of fingers when told to do so for the camera.

They used to say she needs to be socialized. She’s not right.
In the picture, you can see something different in my eyes.
Even I wonder, looking at it now, what was I thinking, really
what was I seeing? I didn’t look where the other kids looked.
Wasn’t fascinated by the games they wanted to play.
What was I looking at? I wonder about things like that.

Yet, the biggest mystery in the picture is that girl beside me.
It is the only picture I have of her and I know her name is Maryanne.

I know I loved her. Know she loved me. Know she was the first friend I ever had. I don’t remember ever being around her.
Don’t remember any games we’d play. Just the connection,
love, and that name I could never forget. Maryanne.

Do you remember me? I wonder. Do you have a birthday party picture with me in it? Do you remember my name?
Do you still know that I loved you? Maryanne.
We were three. You moved away that summer.
I hope you remember I loved you.
Hope you still know you have always
been loved,

Isabel Sylvan’s poem Strange Flowers appeared here in September 2010.

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