The Missing Picture

For better or worse there is almost never a picture of the trauma you experienced. If trauma is unspeakable, it is also certainly, often ‘unshowable’ or invisible. It is hard to get the words out, the descriptions out even to describe an image—let alone find a tangible image. Soldiers do not come home from war with photos of battles. They send photos home, like my great uncle did, of young faces in uniforms too big, standing in front of recognizable landmarks in Europe. Some of these black and white photos are in pastures, or in front of village fountains. All of them are mundane. Men smiling. In this case, only the photos returned home. My great uncle did not.