Old Photographs

Paul took a course on serenity
taught by the city’s last Holocaust survivor.

It had something to do with ironing
the wrinkles out of nightmares.

Sometimes the teacher was so serene
she became translucent.

Looking through her all Paul could see
was the green color of the blackboard

and calm and quiet
printed with yellow chalk.

Paul was better at practicing quiet.
Residual fears suffocated his words.

The final exam was to turn
a living color nightmare

into burnished sepia tones
then filing it in the archival past.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

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