Family portrait

Of course there was love.

And outside the frame,
the unspoken grievance,
the ambiguous harm,

fissures forming, fault
lines; the common
geology of family.

How quietly durable our domestic
discord, how persistent
beyond the curated image:

One two-hundredth
of a second, F-stop 5.6;
the precise shutter speed

and aperture to create
evidence, make artifact,
of the immaculate moments

we longed to have,
hoped to preserve.
For whose eyes were

these pictures made?
Still, see how
we drew close,

laid hands on
each other,



  1. […] Family portrait […]


    1. Thanks for sharing this!


  2. Ah, Cate – how true that what the camera captures is one instance in a flow (often as not, a turbulent flow).


    1. Yes, families can be tricky, as can any close human relationship. We are complex creatures, mysteries often to even ourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful Cate.


    1. Thank you.


  4. Happy 2022, Cate. This post made me think about how most of social media portrays only the best of us as well. Those ‘outside that frame’ aspects of our lives are rarely aired, making those who partake feel like they are failing compared to the perfect lives of their friends and acquaintances. But I guess it’s always been like that, though instead of being posted for all to see, those perfect moments were stored in oh so many shoeboxes, hidden in the attic. -Russ


    1. Indeed! Curation has reached a zenith in the age of social media. I’m interested in the bigger picture — meaning, what exists figuratively, outside the smaller, tidier, literal images — and appreciate when others share their experience of that, too. Makes us all less lonely. Happy New Year to you, too, Russ!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow. Great poem about the secret life of families.


    1. Thank you; the Hallmark Channel is part, but not all, of our stories as families.

      Liked by 2 people

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