Considerations when Curating the Past

by Marina Sanchez

Sorting and divvying family photos,
my sister and I find an old envelope.
There’s a picture of mother and father
before they were married,
he’s smiling, his arm around her.

Her face makes us shudder.
It’s the only photo we’ve discovered
where she looks as we remember her.
Rose pushes it away,
but I add it to my pile.

Oh, I really want to tear it up.
But if I do, what of the past?
Her rain of stinging slaps on face and body,
lashing us with dad’s belt after he died,
those caustic remarks that choked us.

Though some say that what endures needs
no pictures, I am left holding this proof
that belongs with all the unhinged,
wild and unmoored parts of the story
that are not known, spoken or heard.