C’est Cheese Retroflash by
(94 Stories)

Prompted By Group Photos

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Grade school, high school, college classes,

Won't you please move closer? Now, say, "Cheese"!

Groups enshrined in photographs-es,

Weddings, dinners—won’t you please

Move in closer? Now, say, “Cheese”!


COVID came and stayed, forever,

No more squeezing in together.

Once we all were in the room,

Now we all depend on Zoom.

Profile photo of Khati Hendry Khati Hendry

Characterizations: funny, moving, right on!, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Your poem and group photo says it all, Khati. We can no longer gather together and smile for the camera. We live our lives on a Zoom screen, even taking photos there. “Say Cheese” is just how we get the corners of our mouths to turn up into that forced smile.

  2. Laurie Levy says:

    So true, Khati. I have started to save screen shots of some zooms with family and close friends. Wonder if/when we will all be able to squeeze in together again.

  3. Wonderful Khati, and so true!
    And bless Zoom, it’s better than nothing!

  4. Marian says:

    Gathering in person now seems very quaint, Khati, and your poem captures the feelings perfectly. At lease we can do screen shots in Zoom to “codify” our online conversations and meetings. Not up to in person, but certainly better than nothing.

    • Khati Hendry says:

      So many things seem quaint anymore. I almost hesitate to open my mouth. Not to mention snail mail communications. It was a revelation when I realized such a thing was possible, and I admit I have actually taken a photo of the page as another approach to saving it in the PC (if zooming on PC).

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    I am (uncharacteristically) optimistic re COVID; I think the omicron variant is going to find everyone by the end of summer, cull the antivaxx flat-earthers a bit and leave us all with sufficient immunity to render it a nuisance instead of a tragedy. Having nearly everyone with at least some resistance will also get the little bastard’s reproductive rate sub-logarithmic.

  6. John Shutkin says:

    Terrific RetroFlash, Khati! I particularly like it when others also try to turn them into rhyming poems. And yours is not only very clever (with a few strained rhymes, I’d delighted to see), but it makes its point perfectly.

    Like others, I consider Zoom to be the very definition of a mixed blessing.

  7. Suzy says:

    I love your poem, Khati! And your rhyming of “college classes” with “photographs-es” seems very Ogden Nash-ian. I can’t spot you in the picture of the Zoom though – is it one of yours, or just a stock photo?

  8. Each one of your scanning retroflashes evoked a song in my head, Khati! This time it’s a ditty by Herman’s Hermits, can’t remember the title! Thanks for the rhyme and the Zoom pic!

  9. it was Bus Stop by the Hollies (check out the sexism, 1966)
    Bus stop, wet day, she’s there, I say
    “Please, share my umbrella”
    Bus stop, bus goes, she stays, love grows
    Under my umbrella
    All that summer, we enjoyed it
    Wind and rain and shine
    And that umbrella, we employed it
    By August, she was mine
    Every mornin’, I would see her waiting at the stop
    Sometimes she’d shopped and she would show me what she bought
    All the people stared as if we were both quite insane
    Someday my name and hers are going to be the same

  10. Very bubble gummy as I recall. Thanks for using that term. We used it to dismiss many a phony commercial attempt at hip, as I’m sure you did. Silly me, I’m trying to describe the heady mixture of political righteousness and sexism in this new novel I’m writing. Tough topic to tackle. Wish me luck!

  11. Khati… I lived it. Let’s just say I was paddling along the surf line when second wave feminism hit.

    And my partner, Susan was, is, and ever will be a remarkable feminist. Here’s a recent blog post she wrote on Roe v Wade: https://susanrubinwriter.com/2022/01/22/about-that-last-anniversary-of-roe/

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