In the basement darkroom I tapped the paper gently in the tray
stirring the strong liquids.
I’d learned to wait for the image.
Within seconds it floats up into my vision, excitedly I proceed,
so I may hang the pictures of my work to dry on the line
and later, to study.
The flaws and white spots don’t make sense at all
but I save the photographs anyway.
Thirty years later I recognize the circles as orbs,
and not mistakes at all.
Sparkling spirits, guiding lights, and angels of mercy
accompanied my quiet grandfather throughout his days.
He was a man who looked out the window often
checking the skies for signs of Spring.
He lived within a sixty mile radius his whole life, from farm into town, from carriages to Model T’s, always Fords, for he labored on Henry Ford’s farm.
He was sure of the perfect time to plant, locating the seeds in their practical places.
When we were little
his hands felt like the warmest mittens of cinnamon and apple tobacco,
tiny hints of the grandmother I’d never known,
I longed to see her eyes.
I wanted to find out who she was, a seamstress named Esther.