You Were Always Alone
by Gloria J. Bennett

You were always alone, they said,
with your photographs,
the ones of the father
that you never met.

I’d go in search of you,
dolls in hand, ready to play,
and would often find you
in our grandmother’s bedroom,

the two of you sitting cross-legged
on the old wrought-iron bed,
with pictures of your deceased father
spread out on the quilt in front of you.

I used to think you liked to be alone
with Grandmother and the pictures
so you could somehow connect
with the father you never knew.

But years later,
long after we had given up our dolls,
it finally occurred to me
that you may have
needed to know who it was
that you felt you had to replace.


Gloria J. Bennett’s work has appeared in travel magazines and
literary journals.  Last November, her poem “Vietnam” was
nominated for the Pushcart Prize by
Mindprints Literary Journal.  
In addition to writing, she teaches freshman composition at
Gainesville State College in Gainesville, Georgia.

On “You Were Always Alone”:
My grandmother was always fascinated with photography.  Some
of her most cherished images were, understandably, those of her
deceased son Robert.  Time after time, I would often find my
grandmother and my cousin Becky, Robert’s daughter, going
through the box of cherished photos.  I always assumed that
Becky enjoyed looking at the photographs so she could connect
with the father she never knew.  But years later, it occurred to
me that perhaps she needed to know the person she felt she was

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 2, Number 2
(Fall 2007)

Copyright © 2007
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.