Saturday, November 21, 2009

Past Forgetting

Slipping Her Mind

My old aunt, rattling
our teacups, asks
Did you know my brother?

She points to the picture on the wall,
the same one I keep by my bed.

He was my father, I say,
and her hands fly to her face.

Her mind flickers off and on,
braiding past and present
in a loose skein full of absence.

I wonder what she does remember.
My father, she says, shaving his sick son.

So that she cannot see my tears, I turn
toward the window crazed with frost.

Beyond the glass, the world sinks deeper
into winter. Our tea is cold now.
Are we related? she wants to know.

(from Pandora's Box)

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