Photo: Father Thinking about Son before Studio Portrait
            “By looking at these sacred last photos carried into the bowels of 
             Auschwitz-Birkenau, we  see the most intimate view of who these 
             people were, who they loved, and what mattered most to them."
                           Ann Weiss, The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau
 
Before the picture was taken 
he had no idea it would end up folded 
into a fraction of its size 
to fit behind his back teeth.  
 
He didn’t think about the creases 
or that his shoes, his ankles
and part of his leg 
would be missing from the picture one day.     
 
Instead, he was thinking 
about hanging the portrait 
above the stove in the kitchen 
next to the painting of the wild roses, 
 
and about his youngest son 
whose right hand is too small for his body.  
The photographer says: Okay, now tuck 
his hand inside your jacket pocket. 
 
It begins this way, 
the father thinks
as he takes his son’s hand 
before the picture is taken; 
 
like the wild roses in the painting
above the stove in the kitchen, 
growing under a wide range of conditions, 
except extremes.
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