There is a Picture

There is that one picture of me
standing up on the balcony
of the dumbbell-shaped apartment
we paid $300 a month for on South Fourth Ave
in Tucson
shaking out a rug, making a home
with you
for the first time.
And there is that one picture of us
in my mind
sitting at my parents’ dining room table
looking at maps
and imagining all of the places
we’d like to go together.
There is that one picture of you
hanging naked from a fallen branch
over a rushing river
about to let go.
And there is the picture of me floating
in a red bikini
in salty, turquoise waters.
There is a picture of you coming to my room
and sitting down on the edge of the bed
we used to share
still wiping away my tears.
And a picture of myself walking through a field
in Putney wondering if I was making the right decision
and another of you, setting off
for the mountains again.
And then there are the pictures
we painted
of the life we were moving towards,
not knowing that another life was moving
towards us.
And there is a picture of you
in the neighbor’s kitchen,
making rice for our daughters,
and another of the littlest one
kissing me on the lips,
and the older one crying
because her eczema has spread, and it hurts.
When I think about all the moments
imprinted on paper and heart alike
there is a knowing
just as the moon moved me to sleep
last night
just as the small chimes from my sister
clink in the morning wind.
It is simple, really,
a slideshow, a retrospective
that bends and curves in shapes
we never expected to learn
but can come to love, come
to keep walking
a path that cracks and heals,
soothes and burns,
brightens and fades.
And then there is the picture
of the light coming up over the treetops
and the clouds changing fast
and a new day beginning,
always beginning again.

13 thoughts on “There is a Picture

  1. kate forand says:

    Jena–so beautiful. Thank you. Reminds me that there are so many small moments of connection each day, everyday, in the tumult of life. I recently found a picture of you sitting on the porch at Brandreth, staring out at the lake, and you look both lovely and lost. I will show it to you one day. Love, K


  2. John says:

    Thanks for once again telling my own story so beautifully. I hurt for you both and also feel such gratitude for the connection that remains, as it does with us. So much loss, and healing. So much to remember, and to see. So much to miss and so much that’s not to be missed, like the morning light and changing sky and swirling deep feelings that prove I’m alive.



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