457: I Found Kin in a Thrift Store Photograph

457: I Found Kin in a Thrift Store Photograph

457: I Found Kin in a Thrift Store Photograph

I Found Kin in a Thrift Store Photograph
by Aaron Coleman

Above my bed a black boy leans
his chin down on the dark wood

of a small bridge, his arms
loose over the edge, far above

the rushing water. His fingers
let the wind’s anonymous grace spill

through him. The night is cinders:
flecks of bluish white and human red

trapped inside the sky. His face so
swept up in shadow his expression is

full of the unknowable. A black boy’s body
is a language sculpted out of silence.

Outside of time, inside the picture
this anonymous child has come

to be my family. Somehow
his legs sway with the framed waves

at the same pace loneliness slips
beneath the surface of intuition, floods

the current called desire.
On the far side I will never see

his spine is my creation myth, a bone river
of redemption, a choice to live, despite

unkeepable love. This religion of slow loss
balanced on the balls of his feet.

"I Found Kin In a Thrift Store Photograph" by Aaron Coleman. Originally published in The Missouri Review. Used by permission of the poet.