The Inheritance

When my sister and I were kids, it was our mother
who snapped the family vacation photographs.

And always, in each roll, appeared a few
out-of-focus close-ups of the ground.

How this happened my mother couldn’t explain,
but it made for a fun treasure hunt whenever

new prints arrived; good for a laugh she shared in
upon discovering she’d done it once again; mirth

followed by speculation of the random shots’ locations
prompted by their more proper photographic neighbors.

My mother never threw a photograph away, so after
her death we inherited even those unintentional ones

and could, I suppose, collect them in their own odd album:
intimate shots of a placeless cracked sidewalk, a shaggy

motel rug, beach sand wavy as the sea; an album perhaps
more evocative than those made up of posed shots because

emblematic of all the close-up, random, unexpectedly
disorienting moments

she hadn’t aimed to hand down
as she went about our lives.