There’s a black, sticky spot on the photograph
of my husband. Shadows of branch, lattice work,
pattern his shirt. Half his face glows in late after-
noon sun, the other half darkens in its own shade.
There were three of us that day: Father, mother,
daughter. We had an appointment with a Jewish
herbalist. His wife was preparing Shabbat dinner.
The herbalist led us upstairs to his office.
Our daughter believed in this man, his powers to cure.
We stopped early for dinner. I had my camera. My
husband said, No more photos, please. That was
years ago. Today, my boxed camera sits on a shelf,
hidden from view. The photograph, framed in wood
dark as night’s tree shade, now looks past my bed
in my new home. Husband is buried. Daughter
has her own family. Herbalist has moved.
Jacqueline Tchakalian has had her work published in Eclipse, So to Speak, California Quarterly, and Shiela-Na-Gig. She was a finalist in the 2011 Tennessee Williams Festival Poetry Contest. She is also a painter and creates ink drawings.