Sean Enfield: Photograph

more poems! more poems! today we are excited to feature a new piece by Sean Enfield, titled Photograph. Sean is no stranger to the life of writing and performing, as one of the newest friends of the spiderweb crew he will be appearing & reading in his first show with the us on April 22 at the POETRY PARTY! you are invited too.

if you're just now picking up on what's going on here, we're sharing poems and prompts by some of our favorite North Texas based writers for national poetry month! the prompts will be compiled in a lovely new zine, including this one, a challenge from Sean himself: write a poem about a family member a generation or two removed, specifically a story about them that’s been passed down or ritualized. embellish, if so desired. 

read the poem, work on that prompt, and go forth and write, friends!

Sean Enfield is a writer from the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. In May 2015, he received his B.A. in English Literature from the University of North Texas. Since then, he has devoted his daytime hours to educating young writers and to service work through AmeriCorps. He has had work featured on NPR's All Things Considered and has had work published in a number of online Literary Journals. Though he has dabbled in a number of genres, he was once chastised at a conference for failing to introduce himself as a poet. He has not made that mistake again. 


The daughter is positioned below the cheek,

fitting like a missing puzzle piece in the curvature

of her mother’s neck. Her eyes are widened as if

staring down a cloaked Death behind the camera

or, perhaps, the mother clutches too tight, too

much love pressure cooking the life inside.


How much like dying is the photograph?


Limbs go numb. Head feels light. Body turns cold.

The mother figure is dressed in black;

the child, all white. They coil around one another,

the yin-yang, and even their surrounding

adopts the grayscale contrast. If not for the hue of the skin,

a glimmer of fire behind them, she’d mistake this photo

as one taken long ago before the advent of color,

before Oz. She cannot help but hear the child crying.

She hears the wailing just before the “Say Cheese!”

and right after the click and the flash, and yet

the lips purse for the photo, the child confused long enough

to be captured still—one moment, immortal, lingering

between the bookending bellowing that overcomes

the daughter trapped by the snare of maternal affection.


How much like love is the act of consumption?


The daughter, now snugly fit into her mother’s

old clothes, holds the photo, and she can still

identify that pain—though it’s shape has since changed.

Her eyelashes brush against her mother’s ageless cheeks.

She stares into those eyes, harder and harder to read each year.

With the ends of her fingertips, she crinkles the photo’s sides

and stares as if those eyes belonged not to memory

but to another person altogether, and she wonders

if she could somehow rip the child from the photo and

devour her and finally spare them both love.


love what's going on here? come back for more tomorrow (and throughout april!) and be sure to check out the poets we've already featured this month: Stevie Edwards, Logen Cure, and Joe Milazzo. & it's true: we're still seeking poet & writer friends to feature here for the month of april (and to join us at our POETRY PARTY) - deadline is on april 10 and you can find submission information HERE.