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A Genealogist’s Day Wife died young

In late afternoon’s heat and dust
An infinite maze of corridors
with doors
which stick
not quite open, not quite shut.

Till the cool dark settles
and I’m still
through old still photos
of men, of women—
…the young and spritely,
…the elderly and toothless
All of them
long and gray and
they all talk to me
.. in questions.

And I potter
neither up, nor down
the insurmountable, impassible mountain
of what they asking

for I’m stuck, answerless,
and holden by their eyes
as they ask, they beg:
“Why did anyone love me?”
“Where are they now?”

-A Charity Higgins Johnson, 2014

Grandfather with orphan grandson