Jeannine Hall Gailey is the Seattle-area author of Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006) and She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011,) an Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal finalist for 2012. Her third book, Unexplained Fevers, is forthcoming from Kitsune Books in 2013. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in journals like The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She volunteers for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches at the MFA program at National University.
Lessons From Old Photographs:
Appalachian Childhoods Look Much More Picturesque
You barefoot in a giant T-shirt, next
to your little brother with his thumb in his mouth
and his blanket in hand, under a giant willow tree.
Just out of the picture is the sludgy pond,
with a sign telling people no one was allowed
to eat the fish. Your uncombed hair in mouth and eyes,
looking slightly pensive, slightly fearful, away
from the camera. The light around you is golden
because every picture from the seventies now
has a yellowish hue, which lends an air of nostalgia
it probably did not earn. All around you lush,
and two young children so small in the yard,
alone against the background of tree and tree and wild things.