The water, the people,
their slim wooden punts:
all are steel gray. No surface ripple
upon this body, where float
smooth, young faces
holding neither sorrow nor joy.
Men pose, stiff in dress shirts,
slacks and straw boater hats.
Women, their hair pinned, pulled back,
sit snugged in bodices, in high-collar blouses.
Gloved hands rest on flowing skirts.
None is ferryman
for this nameless band.
They stare at me
Another boat shall appear.
My grandmother always found these family photos unnerving and mysterious because she didn’t know any of the people in them. They launched me in a different direction when I wrote a poem based on them.