Friday, November 2, 2012

News of deaths come in groups

How do I grieve for you
When I knew you just as Uncle,
and not by your given name.
When the sum total of our interactions
amount to small talk,
often with Daniel,
on days I came to visit other members of your family,
conversations in your perfect English
between two men left out
of the women's talk,
and an awkward kiss, long forgiven,
the day your brother came out of surgery.
There is not enough fabric there
to stitch a mourner's shroud.

Your family has given me so much
love and nourishment.
Your part in that must be acknowledged.
You, the strong, quiet, sometimes overbearing patriarch,
who knew to keep his distance
from the firy naive feminist
with strange beliefs and weird customs
transplanted from a curious land.
In that space, and I imagine wisdom,
something improbable grew.
Now its roots are struggling
to find something to cling to.

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