My Father’s Family Portrait, by Ben Rasnic

by Benjamin Imamovic

It could have been

the cover for Steinbeck’s

“Grapes of Wrath”


Late 1930’s,

composed in black & white

for a black and white world–


Hitler annihilating the Jews,

Louis pummeling Schmelling,

The dark divide of the Great Depression.


Almost everyone in the photo

dressed in their Sunday best

despite hard times indelibly etched

into stone faces.


It is a sunny day

as everyone is squinting, forcing

an obliged look of tolerance,


My father is the one in the back row

with the trademark snarl

like Sean Penn from a previous life.


I imagine him mumbling

under his breath something like

“Burning daylight, got chores to do.”


The only person smiling

is the youngest, yet she too

will come to experience


the burden the weight of the world

can have on the shoulders

of its children


as they struggle with the earth

& its elements

for their daily bread


only to be left at the end of the day

on a dead-end country road, forcing

an obliged look of tolerance.


Ben Rasnic is originally from Jonesville, a small rural town in extreme Southwest Virginia, population <1000. 

Currently, Ben resides in Bowie, Maryland, earns a paycheck as an accountant for a paper recycling company in Alexandria, Va. 

A steadily increasing  portion of his leisure time is spent creating poems that can be found on numerous internet websites and in a few “old school” printed publications.