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The Amnesiac Sees a Picture of Himself
Age 5

The legend "April 62" explains
the small boy's stocking hat
and dark jacket, the woman's light,
sleeveless dress, even the spindly
legs of two calves that strain
for the metal bucket she carries.

The woman is young and pretty,
but her face, framed with dark hair,
seems tired. She stoops slightly,
one foot in front of the other,
as though the camera had caught her,
as she moved to bend over.

The gray barn behind her, small and rough,
holds up a tin roof streaked with rust.
In the barnyard, a junkpile: old tires
a metal grate, oil drums, a roll of wire,
and a dozen whiskey bottles, mostly empty,
at which two chickens stare intently.

The boy's hand on the near calf's back
is out of focus, his face blurred.
He leans on the dark hide and stretches
toward the woman. His spine is curved.
The calves have stars on their faces.
The boy has a ball on his cap.

By Loren Graham

Loren Graham was born and raised around Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He studied as a writer and composer at Oklahoma Baptist University, and he received an MA in English from Baylor University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of Virginia. He has since taught English and creative writing in Virginia and in Montana. Poetry collections include Mose (Wesleyan, 1994), The Ring Scar (Word Poetry, 2010), and Places I Was Dreaming (CavanKerry, 2015). Graham won the Oklahoma Book Award for poetry in 2016.