Dan Campbell

Family Photo Albums

Are liars, full of fake smiles,
hypocritical hugs, manicured
lawns, beaming birthday cakes.
Albums show bearable memories,
not unbearable ones, cousins
frozen in Eagle Scout uniforms,
not behind prison bars

Photos never show father
drinking beer alone under
bare basement bulbs
Grandma’s cooking pie, not
staring into her bleak future.
Photos don’t show toppled
telescopes, so long stars, a boy’s
too brief universe tour
Uncles stand beside
new Ford pickups
not weeping over
burned down barns.

Sister smiles, knitting
another sweater, cameras
miss the conveyor
belt of Jack Daniels
and ruined liver
There isn’t a selfie
of Mom waving, lying
to her daughter
“I’ll see you again soon”


Dan Campbell works in the Washington DC area for an international organization and he enjoys writing poetry, plays and non-fiction articles. He enjoys playing the banjo, flamenco guitar and blues harmonica and his retirement dream is to be a popular street musician.