Floyd Skloot won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for his memoir, In the Shadow of Memory (Nebraska, 2003). His fourth collection of poems, The End of Dreams, will be published by LSU Press, and his fifth collection, Approximately Paradise, by Tupelo Press. He lives in Amity, Oregon.
In all her childhood photos that survive,
my mother wears a costume of some kind:
A scowling gypsy with her tambourine;
chauffeur in worn livery poised to drive
a cardboard roadster; bold pirate, half-blind,
before an ocean painted on a screen.
At Coney Island, with her young brother
wearing his suit, she is dressed as a Greek
goddess, I think, with gleaming crown, leather
leggings, and shield. Here beside her mother
on the beach, she lounges sheathed in a sleek
dress and flapper’s hat with one long feather
dangling past her shoulder. She never smiles
and she never appears to be a child.