inscription on a photograph

after matthew vollmer’s inscriptions for headstones

if the long lost relative had written an inscription on the photograph, she might have said that she was sorry, or that she loved the person who would receive the photograph, that is, me, the girl who was born nine months after the picture was taken, the picture that featured a man and a woman, well, a boy and a girl, really, at their senior homecoming dance, such a frivolous event that it seems odd it would portend the conception of life, but not really because our lives are frivolous to all but us, and perhaps the young lady, the long-lost relative, who peered out at me with inscrutable eyes from behind the photograph’s veneer, would have told me that her choice, the choice that made the giving of the picture necessary in order for me to ever look upon her face, were born of a desire to provide me with more frivolity, a frivolity that she had a taste of on the night that the picture depicts, the night that she wore a lovely strapless crinkly metallic-looking red dress, and maybe the girl in the red dress would have said these things if she had written an inscription, but it doesn’t matter either way, because I wore a red dress to my senior prom and had my picture taken; if I ever meet her I can write an inscription on the back with enough words for the two of us

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