My mother's father, the second child from left (with a hat), worked with his family to make charcoal to earn cash, incredibly dirty hard work. I got to wondering about the photographer and what these people would have thought of him.
The poem, Kiln Photo published in June of 2016 online at GyroscopeReview.com
The top hat twill coated reporter left a yellowed
photo of our charcoal kiln its ancient process
frozen by this game faced stranger with tripod
camera and gunpowder flash. We five all young
in white shirts flat brimmed hats even our teeth
soot dusted suspected this stranger paid for no-
sweat work and way too clean some city guy
yap talkin.’ Cousin Ozey put him right with "We
work hard and honest and we do not know you.
Once that pit gets fired there's no backin' down."
Ozey had heard cameras freeze a soul to paper.
I stacked the logs in square rows for circulation
Jamie crawled the middle packed in the kindling
we ganged the top and sealed it in and set it all
to blazing. Camera man took our pictures, suspicion
right there on our faces but nothing slowed this guy
him packing into his covered wagon working under
a heavy black blanket said he was developing. No
one wanted the photo but me so I scratched it with
my fingernail but found no souls probably cause
this work is so damned hard our souls burned
away. Nailed the photo to my wall grandkids like
to wonder at my past. I look it before I sleep cause
it always takes me just so far away.