upon discovering an old polaroid that should have burned (20170913)

i stare out
of the instant photo grinning
in a dove gray tux
a formal high school event
one of two that i can recall

it is hard to look at myself
the me inside recoils
at all of that youth
at that smile

as with many old photos
this one has faded
in a dramatic fashion
along with most of my memory
of that night

my chest
alreadybleached white
is now a blistering snowstorm
a blizzard over my heart
that makes me doubt
that foolish cockeyed grin
plastered on another me’s face

was being happy that easy?
or was that the beginning
that moment when the damage began
the frostbite in the bones?

dove feathers drift down
and i am moving softly, slowly
practicing a display of teeth

7 thoughts on “upon discovering an old polaroid that should have burned (20170913)”

    1. Ha! Derrick beat me to the punch…

      Seriously, though, I realize that the question you’re asking here is, Was the purveyor of “all of that youth…that smile” really the one who was the poser? I think stumbling over (both literal and figurative) pictures of our past selves often makes us recoil from the recognition who we’ve become since the days when “happiness was easy” (if it truly ever was…). Luckily for me, I’ve always been immensely camera shy, so I’m not often confronted with the stark truth of my own poser-hood…

      I especially love the title of this one, too! Your Polaroid must have been on steroids! How else did it manage to escape the proverbial flames?


      1. Ha! The flames were only proverbial. I found it while going through of a box of things my late mother had collected. I think she kept every scrap of paper I doodled or wrote on.

        But old pictures are strange. I’ve learned to limit my camera time. That’s true wisdom.

    1. Thank you! That seemed to be the right word. Definitely a sense of revulsion. It’s probably why we’re creeped out by doppelgängers. Something so familiar and not right at the same time.

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