The photographs stand side by side,
one faded colour, one black and white,
two classes of schoolchildren a generation apart,
traditionally arranged, tallest at the back
and in each sits a girl in the short-child chairs,
one fringed and dark, one plaited and fair,
both staring ahead, hands on laps, sombre-faced
following instructions with fingers laced,
but with one small thumb in unconscious rebellion,
poking proudly aloft to break the standardised vision.
Across the years a mirrored gesture
linking mother with daughter.
Sometimes -not when looking directly –
but in a shop window, obliquely,
or in an angled wing mirror, viewed quickly,
by the clench of my jaw
by my wary eye
by the set of my hands on the steering wheel
I see my mother reflected in me.