The Beard

I found it while culling old photos
that no one need keep — nor even see —
once I’m gone. It shows dark-haired me,
clear-eyed, smiling, hopeful, happy me.
At least I think it might be me,
despite that captured joy and smoothness.
The other reason I’m somewhat unsure of
the subject’s identity is because
the young fellow in these photos has
longish hair and a pretty nice beard.
A full beard, on a face shining with optimism,
even if it is out-of-focus.
I placed the photo in the bottom
of a shoebox in the closet with
the full-length mirror on the door.
The mirror that shows the image of
the silver-haired guy whose mouth sags
on the left side when he attempts to smile,
as if he’s afraid his face might slough off
the front of his head if he gave in
to full expressions of joy.
That’s the mirror where I stare into
the pair of burrows where nest the windows
of my soul. Deep within, it’s like I
can see inside the shoebox behind the door.
I still wonder what happened to that youngster,
but I at least know I can still find him.

4 thoughts on “The Beard

  1. I love this poem and photo! Where I’m startled the most is when I unexpectedly catch a glimpse of myself reflected in windows or mirrors in new places. I won’t recognize myself right away because apparently in my mind’s eye, I’m still young. My sister and other family members tell me I look just like my mother did at my current age. I don’t see her in me much, no matter how much I look. I’m not sure who I resemble, but it isn’t young me, nor is it Mother. I feel like I’ve been taken over by a stranger. 😲

  2. Looks like a friendly face to me. Now why is it that our mouths downturn at the corners with age? That’s annoying, and yet I too feel its our duty to preserve those photos of youthful happy smiles, so that our kids and grandkids will know that we weren’t always old crusty and tired. 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment, Robynne. That guy WAS a very friendly dud. There aren’t too many photos of that guy because he was usually the one on the other side of the camera. But I seem to find more of him the more I write these things.

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