My Father’s Family Portrait, by Ben Rasnic
by Benjamin Imamovic
It could have been
the cover for Steinbeck’s
“Grapes of Wrath”
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.