I remember when Missing photos were on milk cartons.
I memorized their features over Life
in a bowl, with milk. Outfits too,
as if I’d recognize them in their picture day clothes

on my street.

If the (Missing) time was long,
there would be two pictures.
One familiar, one not quite right.
Computer-aged, a little off.

I would study both, and try to crack the code.

How can a computer know the intentions of a cheekbone, when love will shape a jawline, or loss will pull at eyelids?

How can it predict when eleven years of freckles might multiply in scattered paths across a nose? How disease will redraw hairlines and recovery (could) redraw them yet again?

For years, (Four years),
and we’ve seen her in the sky and the stars and the sea –
don’t get me wrong

they are lovely, all three.

I just want to see fifteen.
For a moment, over breakfast.
Computer-aged, a little off.
This kind of Missing should qualify.

5 Responses to missing

  1. Beautiful. I lost a niece nine years ago, also in October, so this post is close to my heart. Love always shines.

    • I’m sorry she’s not here. October feels like such a heavy month, a month of transitions, and it’s not easy when it’s grief season as well. The beauty of fall – and sometimes it’s so gorgeous it hurts – can feel really disorienting to me.

      I hope this season is gentle on you and all who loved her and miss her.

  2. Close to my heart too. My daughter Cece left us when she was 9 and a half. She would have turned 15 in July. I’m reminded daily of what she might be doing, via posts and emails from her friends’ mothers; startled to see homecoming dances and driver’s license permits beginning to appear in their lives. I celebrate as my younger daughter reaches her own milestones — sleep-away camps, middle school dances, braces, orchestra auditions, volleyball try outs — that Cece never had a crack at. And I ache to see her at 15, across from me at the breakfast table. Right now. And if I can be so bold, to hear her voice… Thank you, always, for your wonderful posts. Thank you, especially, for this one. I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss.

    • I think of your Cece as well, and I know what you mean. I see my daughter growing (a few months younger than her cousin, but they were in the same grade), and celebrating the milestones feels very bittersweet. Even watching her put her costume together last night – my mind wanders to how Erin would have dressed up, and boy would she have dressed up! She never met a stage she didn’t love.

      I was watching a video of Erin on Sunday night and her voice sounded so cute, but also so different to me. I remember how she sounded, but I think I age her voice in my mind too, so when I catch it in a video it doesn’t seem quite real.

      I wish the girls were here.

    • Ahhh, another Nancy with a lost daughter Cece. What a very small world. Hugs mama.

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