The picture

Laying in bed

A vision comes to me

My mother

standing in a bikini

~

She is not at the beach or by the pool

She is in the house

Standing by her bedroom double doors

Frowning at the camera

~

The bikini is red, white, blue

Stars and stripes forever

It may be 1976, the 200th Us birthday

She frowns at the camera

~

My father took the picture

and in the days before photoshop

He sculpted her body

With a black pen

~

He marked out the extra weight around her abdomen

Black pens marks on her arms and thighs

Scars on the picture

Reflect her suffering from her imperfections

~

She was not morbidly obese,

barely overweight, 5’6″, 140-150 pounds

And yet it was not what he wanted

So he chose to mark her up

~

Years later, a similar set of pictures

Pictures of my brother before his death

Shorts and overweight, Father encouraged him

Go off the medications, lose weight

~

Mother suffered from this critical eye

Brother dies, off his medications

And me, I shrink away because of this scarring

Fearing the marks, the shame, the fat, the padding

~

The difference is that it is easier for me

I do not hunger the same way

I love to work out and move my body

I care for my health

~

And yet I know somehow, I have been marked

The black ink fading onto me

Staining my body

Scratching my picture.

~

Call it epi-genetics

I can feel those scars across the family

The shame, the frowns, the disgust

The fear, the pain,  captured in the picture.

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