The photo's black & white
two-by-three inches
and framed in dollar-store gold.
A soldier and his ladyfriend
stand faking smiles
for some mother or brother
or friend of a friend
while the camera freezes the '40s.
He's in uniform, she's got curls
and their pose is off-center
like the world at that time.

I pull the cardboard backing out
see his rank, their names, the date
scrawled in a proud female's handwriting
wipe my dust and floating smoke
from the glass that still protects them
and place them back next to Clancy.

I brought them inside
a few months ago
to let them live on a bookshelf.
The curb was no place
for those young folks to die.

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