title: photographs are not for remembering

poem: Grandma’s closet, brown boxes
are stacked from old
to new. I grab the
the first. The quaintest, not
living long enough to grow
more than the one beneath. Sepia
birthday party, peeling edges, barely in
color, slips to the linoleum. Don’t
cry over spilled memory. But this
was different. It was easy to grasp
the glossy grins of my youth and
the matte imagery that made me. But
when I arrived in time’s moment to
the largest, I was not so lucky.
Strangers’ faces flooded through my hands. I’m
a stranger. I am a stranger to
my own lineage. This brave box was
older. Wizened, with weaker walls from upholding
others. Placed there first. Most time to
forget. The contents, eyes I don’t
recognize. Bodies, black and white, buried
in cardboard here. The contents: buried
under a familiar substance, more natural.
Sometimes images are buried with
the body. Do they last
long? Do they fade? Decay.
The memories, the faces
I neglect but crave
to know are in
someone’s mind,
but not
title: stockholm syndrome: I am both parties

poem: Marble table in the dining room cradles
my contemplations;
today’s special, the slate serves a single
blade to me. The knife deserted after dinner,
the sheen winks. The iron and onyx
swirl underneath, hypnotize. I lean
towards it, almost falling for the peaceful eye
and the serrated amenity.
I swim in the ebony and silver, stare into my likeness.
Drift to yesterday. Sitting in my office chair,
my skull pressed against
the beige wall, my parents performed
blame by a thousand screams. I wanted to plunge
through the paint, the dead
forest in between. To plummet into a portal, lead
in my wonderland. This is not so different
from now. My appeal to float
on the threshold is satisfied. Caution:
too long, and it will crumble into salt. So,
I thread my prayers
and sew them into the
scarlet jacket.

TaNia Donatto is a poet from Southeast Texas and a current undergraduate student at Stanford University. She intends on majoring in engineering but has a deep love for poetry. Her other interests include dance, theater, learning from people’s stories, and accessibility in education. She also has work in or forthcoming in Neuro Logical, Capsule Stories, and 433 Magazine. TaNia can be found on Instagram and Twitter @taniadonatto_ .

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