Baby Picture

— Di Jayawickrema

Here I am wearing my father’s face. Here’s the morning light falling on my thick mat of black hair, turning it to silver fishes, waves, wind. You were the only baby born that day with a head full of hair, my father tells me. That’s how we knew you. Here are the sheets pulled flat on the bed we all share, vertical stripes, thin and thick, orange, yellow, orange, yellow. Three white pillows in a neat row. When I wheeled you from the hospital, you looked right up at me like this, my father says, making his eyes big, my eyes, his eyes. Here are my eyes looking up and away from the camera, up and away like my father went. This is how I learn to leave. I hold this baby picture by the edges, see me, see him, go. Here’s the rumpled blanket where I first learn to squirm, submarines, aeroplanes, rocketships. Wave goodbye. Here I go, my hair dancing, my eyes evading, ever sliding away, away, away.

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