American Paradox


Thousands of miles away,

In another place and another time,

Familiar in its austerity,

Portrait of hard labour and domesticity

Of colonial farmers – and yet

The grim-faced puritans,

Small-town bible thumpers

That scared me as a child,

As an adult

With a love of horror

And a distaste of kitschy Americana,

Present me with questions:

Who are these tintype people

From an obscure family album?

A satire of small-town life

Or a reassuring image

Of steadfast pioneer spirit?


© Kim M. Russell, 2016