Deborah Bacharach

Going Through High School Photos with My Middle School Daughter

Here I am with Andy posing
at the harvest ho-down. What I see—
the brown silk sweater
that scratched my skinny arms.
What my daughter sees—a boy
his arm around my shoulders.

Gay, I say.
And David with the fake sunset, gay.
Alan, so dapper, also gay.
Not that I knew. I just knew

When I asked them to dance,
they would say yes.

And then we come
to Darrel and Tom. Gay?
my daughter teases.
No, not gay I say.

I hold back the rush, the way
I can still feel their lips and limbs,
taste their sweat.

Close your eyes my darling daughter,
no one there before your father.
Mt. St. Helen’s just a flicker.
I waited up so chastely
for Casey Kasem to get to number one.


My Husband Rarely Says I Love You

As we stand before
Wyeth’s barren
landscapes, my husband
his shoulder
to mine. On one demure
wall, a man
mourns his father:
he walks the bleak hill
on the heels of a train crash.
On another, pain’s flash flood
locks a woman in her
body, her home.
The world gray brown
in picked over light
like lost eggs.
I feel John’s touch
a koan, myself

Deborah Bacharach is the author of two full length poetry collections Shake & Tremor (Grayson Books, 2021) and After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015). Her poems, book reviews and essays have been published in Poetry Ireland Review, New Letters and The Writer’s Chronicle among many others. Find out more about her at