A Backward Glance

In tiny color transparencies,
these images swim up from the past
into the oval of my magnifying glass:

My grandparents squint
into the sweltering Alabama sun
next to long-lost relatives
visiting from Australia.
I am eight years old.

My mother lounges by the pool
in a one-piece bathing suit
looking younger than I remember
on a Florida vacation,
while my sisters splash in the pool.
I am thirteen.

Flash forward half a dozen years
to my sisters holding bouquets
as if they were bridesmaids
standing next to their dates at a dance
under an arch twined with artificial flowers.

In these captured moments
everyone is always smiling,
and yet I want to weep
for what will happen to us,
for what has happened already.


“On the Horizon” “News of the World” © Stacy Esch


Poet, fiction writer, journalist, and critic Anne Whitehouse’s books include poetry collections The Surveyor’s Hand (Compton Press), Blessings and Curses (Poetic Matrix Press), One Sunday Morning (Finishing Line Press), The Refrain (Dos Madres Press), Bear in Mind (Finishing Line Press), and Fall Love (novel). Recentpoetry and fiction publications include The View from Here, Art from Art (anthology), Istanbul Poetry Review, Pain and Memory and Being Human: Call of the Wild (anthologies), riverbabble, Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, and others. She lives in New York City.

Stacy Esch lives and works in West Chester, Pennsylvania, teaching English at West Chester University. Digital art and photography are the twin passions that compete alongside her interest in writing, reading, songwriting, and gardening. She has previously published works in Ibbetson Street, Turkshead Review and wordriver literary review. She has produced cover art for chapbooks by Kenneth Pobo (Save My Place and Placemats) and her artwork is featured at Spruce Alley Press, where she published a colorful 2014 Calendar as well as distinctive illustrations for the chapbook, When The Light Turns Green.