I find your face in the sepia image
sitting in the front row, far right, your white shirt
cuffed at the wrist, complete with a borrowed tie,
hands obediently resting on your gray knickers
gathered at the top of your knee-length socks,
thick brown leather shoes,
your light brown hair parted from left to right.
Do your dreams portend the heartaches that lie in wait for you:
a home with thirteen children; scarcity of food; poverty of affection;
a younger brother and sister succumbing to the flu epidemic;
a hard-hearted father; an exhausted mother;
your lifelong struggle with depression and alcoholism.
I want to reach into the picture to touch your expressionless face
and wrap my arms around your small body to protect you
from the pain that will haunt your life.
I cannot rescue you from the darkness that awaits
or prevent my living under the shadow of your despair.