Christmas Photo Album


In the Christmas photo album…..

Ghosts run among the pages

Through images stuffed with

Santas and snowmen.

My sister’s ghost gives Indian burns

My brother’s ghost I didn’t know

Began to know

And sometimes wished

I still didn’t know

Young ghosts of daughters

Tell horrid tales of their mother

While through their anger

A language of love spills out

My father’s ghost has freckled arms

Snow ice cream, steel rail sleds

A guilt that cannot be mended

That does not need to be

My mother’s ghosts appear

As foster babies

No one knew, no one knows

Stereoscope faces like photos

Adopted memories


The Christmas photo album

Is a book of history

Inclined to judgments

A mixing of truth and fiction

Locked into a close reading

A house in constant repair

Reparation and preparation

Holding children in its pages

Who have passed on

Who are still passing on


My ghost

Contains frozen interpretations..

Not only from my family’s perspective

But, my own.

A part of me that never existed

Yet exists in movements

All muddled together,

Inside various versions of

A boy who would be a girl

A girl who would be a boy

Neither of what became to be

Both of what would become of me

Such strong arms

Such feminine fingers

Such rugged looks

Such pretty features

A ghost who still believes

In the power of creativity

But, proclaims it logically


With a present-day smile

And dark circles under my eyes

Another photo is added to the book




Click here for what I mean by close reading

Click here for an explanation of Confessional Poetry

19 Comments on “Christmas Photo Album

  1. Pingback: Old photo album | erbiage

  2. Very nice. We all become ghosts, nothing left but memories, until those too pass on. Then a photo book might remain, it’s stories absent, a book of ghosts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of the most amazing poems that I have ever read on this website, and I am so thrilled for the next one!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Captivating piece.
    Thank you.
    Hoping the Spirit of Christmas Present finds you well, and the Spirit of Christmas Future calls on you with love and blessings.

    Seek peace,


    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, the ghosts are there in the album, but why do I get the regret, the guilt, the pain more than the joy, the family growing together, the beauty of learning and growing? Was the past really mostly difficult and sad? Even Christmas?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Touching poem about the ghosts of Christmas Past. How well do we ever know anybody, right? Esp love the ending, the present day that will move into the past, just part of the larger story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mother’s pantsuits, brother’s moustache and macramé. A universal time stamp. People we’ve known and never knew. This one is a standout. No dexterous cleverness, but a bucket of heart. More memories to you, and a Happy New Year.

    Liked by 3 people

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