Image: Angela Elliot
Uncle Max was proud of the photo
He called it ‘The Lunchbox of Treasures.’
Innocence captured in three poses.
What happened to your childhood?
Was it him who bulldozed you
The shame of hidden children.
The box of treasures more akin to Pandora
Your girly virtue replaced by unprecedented belligerence.
Persecution became your default
Alienation from family
Wandering the world
A law unto yourself.
In time you returned
Lived in isolation
Bitter, angry, resentful.
My father had a soft spot for you
Went to visit.
Unpleasant was what he called you.
This photo is all that remains of your childhood.
I placed it on your coffin
In your final days I did visit
A frail aged shell of a woman
No anger no aggression
Difficult when you are hooked to a machine.
I sat with you
Your visitor’s book virginal.
I rubbed your wrinkled hand
Felt your grip as you held mine
In your eyes I saw your fear
Each day as you hung on to a life
Long gone, forgotten, but you remembered.
Fearful of questions in the next life?
I held you in those moments
There were no words
Our eyes met, messages passed
You found love again Dear Aunt
With your lunchbox of treasures
You came home.