“Photograph of the Cusp” by Eliza Callard

“Photograph Of The Cusp” by Eliza Callard

Crouched down, wearing the sweater she knitted me,
my head tilts to hers. She is down with me, knees bent,
balanced on her sneaker toes. We meet the camera

with long, raw smiles. Not the relaxed grins of
vacation, but the sweet grief of women who have
made a decision: we will sell the house, the future

will hold only the pitter-patter of our own feet,
we will taste what follows defeat. We hunch on the rocky
beach, the rumpled napkin of lake beside us.

She holds a striped pebble in her hands. These stones
gain brilliance through water, and one lick is all it takes
to bring out the color. We are sparkling with resolution,

touching the still wet ink, wondering if we meant to sign.
My mother took this photograph, singling us out
from the crowd of family trolling the ground for shells

and seaweed. The sun is neither setting nor rising,
it is at an unnoticed part of its sweep.


Eliza Callard is a Philadelphia poet who loves urban hiking and kayaking.  A doting wife, daughter, and aunt, she hangs out most days with her all-black boy cats, Davy and Blue.  She’s been published widely, and her website is elizacallard.com.

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