This poem was first published in the Cruse Tyneside Bereavement Anthology 'Rowing Home' in 2008.

For Sylvia at 17

Your eyes draw me
and I want to ask
what you were thinking
at that moment
when the shutter snapped
stilling you forever,
so beautifully thoughtful,
in black and white
and shades of grey.

What hopes and fears,
what secret dreams
had shaped that not-quite
smile upon your lips?
Had you been kissed?
And if so by whom?
And was that jacket
sky blue or scarlet?
Or maybe forest green?
Because somehow I doubt
that it was really grey.

Too late now to ask,
when I found this picture
you were already gone.
beyond the reach
of phone or letter
and, although the blood
of yours I carry in my veins
hints at the answers,
I regret not asking,
not knowing who you were
at seventeen.

© Samantha Newbury 2008