Chrysania Marie Monroe

Still Estranged Family Photo


We all look
directly at the camera.
In children, it is called parallel play.
It looks like interaction.

My father stands between his wife
and me, a hand on both a shoulder of hers
and mine, his body leaning toward her,
his head slightly closer to mine.

We all wear black sweatshirts,
except the baby who is drop-dead
in the center. One day he will understand
why blending in is important.
He shares their DNA.

My father’s wife’s daughter
is there too. No one is touching her.
She is intellectually befuddled, functional,
and capable of breeding.
I cannot compete.

Rays of the stranger looking at us
as a singular flash makes us visible.
This light is a shock.

Neither my father nor I
satisfy. These people, this stranger
with the fully attentive mouth.
His age must have kept his lips
from lifting but perhaps the lean got me,
or maybe the hand.
I show teeth.

I keep us in my wallet
because he won’t.



Chrysania Marie Monroe is a young woman in Washington studying at a community college and works part time at a local coffee shop. Having always loved storytelling, she primarily focuses on poetry and performance theater. “Artists should be zealously well-rounded creatures.” This is her first publication.