Holidays, Grannie & Divorce: Poetry by Devan Burton

“Two Christmas Pictures, 2001 and 1943”


Two Christmas Pictures, 2001 and 1943

Grannie was sick that Christmas morning. We stood

outside your apartment next to my blue Caravan

(the divorce was legalized the week before).

Our kids stood with me, bundled in their tight jackets,

while you held my camera. On the count of three, Grannie,

the children, and I posed. The picture caught Grannie’s smile.

My smile.

Before the wayward twins,

two failed marriages, and nights chasing dry gin in bars,

Grannie was a girl. In a picture I saw, days after her funeral,

my great grandfather held his child. My grandmother,

the product of an early divorce, the obedient daughter,

clung to her daddy’s shoulders after he bent down to greet her.


I add colors to the black and white photo

of Grannie and her father that Christmas.

Only I see the green of the Chevy Coe,

the neighboring street’s black surface,

the purple dress she wore, wrinkled

because of her father’s large arms. His grin,

as large as the December moon,

did not eclipse her smile.

Devan Burton is a writer and a teacher based in Knoxville, Tennessee. His chapbook, In Quiet Hours, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter @SirWriteRight or Instagram @a_man_of_letters.


Poems curated by FORTH poetry editors.

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