Floyd Skloot

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.