It was because of the snow,
the old car skidding fast
down the side of the mountain
when something broke and we
ended up with three hours to kill.
The snow was gauze over my eyes
and the hours were the hand that tore it away.
I still have the photo, its torn
top edge white and soft from decades
of rubbing. A man's legs in rolled-up jeans,
his hands on a toddler's shoulders. She
in a sun suit and sneakers. Above her head
is a void where a face that could only be
Was 18 years long enough for
a lie to be ingrained, to solidify
the fictional beginnings of a girl with
an imposter's name? The story
of the photo was a fiction. The missing
face was convenient.
The lie fell hard and dangerous as the snow
on the mountain. She held my hands with tears
in her eyes, offered a black leather jacket
with a name I'd never heard embroidered
in the pocket.
I left the jacket behind.
His name meant nothing to me.