“With Smiles and Photographs” by E.V. Wyler

Sparkling like the midday sun, resting
on the sea’s crystalized horizon, Emily looked
lovely, smiling in her royal blue cap and gown,
touching the golden tassel on her mortarboard,
topped with the words “Thanks Mom and Dad.”
Tassels on the right turn to the left; Emily poses
with classmates and poses with family;
each segment of her day is punctuated
with smiles and photographs…

Three days after the graduation,
we fly Jet Blue to Orlando, visiting
4 Disney parks in 5 days…
With our skin sautéing in sweat and
sunscreen, we repeat the tourists’ ritual:
pose… smile… click…
until it makes us all impatient and cranky
(because there is no “fast pass”
for smiles and photographs…)

Five days after the family vacation,
a large U-Haul truck backs out of our driveway,
heading towards Chicago and Emily’s new job,
studio apartment, and her next life’s chapter…
Yet, in Emily’s old bedroom, on top of her empty
dresser, there’s still the mortarboard
that reads “Thanks Mom and Dad,” and on
our closet shelf, there is a new album, filled
with smiles and photographs…




E.V. “Beth” Wyler grew up in Elmont, NY.  At 43, she obtained her associate’s degree from Bergen Community College.  She and her husband, Richard, share their empty nest with 3 cats and a beta fish.