Say Cheese

What the Dead Remember  
by Maj Ragain
In response to Say Cheese

reading by Jill Goodman

reading by Garrett Underwood

Say persimmon, say parson.
No smiles for the camera,
that dark room, its blink of light.
Say purse, cargo of those lost years.
I am on the right, bare midriff,
cherry blossom pink, new skin
stretched over the drumhead,
a forest of knees,
Barbara to the left,
Sharon between us.

No one remembers my name.
I have forgotten it,
broken letters in my mouth.
Wherever you are, reading this,
I grew up not far from you,
though I can no longer recall
The street or the town.

There were no trees.

A dirt path led down to a dry creek bed.
Follow the creek north to a grass field
rowed with stones.

My name is written on a flat, polished stone.
I cannot read it.

Say it for me.

Say Cheese
oil on canvas
58 x 50”

Damen, Jessica & Ragain, Maj, Vision to Verse-Verse to Vision: A Visual and Poetic Dialogue, exhibition catalog, June 15-September 4, 2004

Damen, Jessica & Ragain, Maj, Home To Sargasso Sea-A Long Journey of Loving Collaboration, exhibition catalog, June 1-July 14, 2018, KSU Downtown Gallery, Kent OH, Kent State University School of Art Collection and Galleries and the Wick Poetry Center with support from the Ohio Arts Council. pp 10-11