A Broken Frame

by Collin Kelley

The photograph has no date,
but these are my long-ago kin,
ancestors just before the boat,
six stone-faced on the English shore,
sepia on cardstock under glass
still clear in severe, dark clothes
except one who has been marked
out, maybe with black wax,
which runs to the bottom corner
where the frame is cracked.

Did he die in transit, get lettered
for adultery on that long crossing,
gamble away starting-over money,
or was he the child they could no
longer bear, the ruin of the family?
The one who kissed other boys,
should have been left behind,
whose black ghost gave up
the dream, slipped out of the picture
through a broken place, a sliver.