Who’s that Girl?

today in a black & white photography exhibit

at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
I saw my baby picture, a toddler,
blonde and fair sitting in high chair.
I wear pink gathered skirt, blue blouse with
peter pan collar, short puffed sleeves,
lacy white socks, red patent leather shoes.
a birthday cake, toppled from tray,
lies lopsided on the ground, one burning
brightly candle buried in chocolate
cream cheese frosting, my favorite.
I’m leaning over, hand outstretched,
and filling the foreground, my
mother’s shadow holds the
camera and hides my discontent.
in the adjacent photograph, I see my
grandmother in thick stockings,
heavy soled shoes, she carries a
leather handbag in the crook of her arm,
and that’s my mother next to her,
when she was younger and before I
came along. Her auburn hair cascades over
bare shoulders. Everyone always says she was
quite the looker. I know these people,
these objects, they speak in the vernacular,
with my words, in my Oklahoma accent.
But why is there an Adirondack chair in the background?
And who is that girl standing on my mother’s
left side wearing skeleton pajamas?

Spent four hours today at SFMOMA. In this particular exhibit, the artist took old photographs by amateurs to demonstrate universality. This one photograph shook me because except for the Adirondack chair, it could have been me. I've seen a photograph strikingly similar.