Summer 1988 • Vol. X No. 3 Poetry |

Family Tree

When it comes to my branch the tree just stops so that it becomes for now, at least, like the verb to be: all intention. There I sit in the arms of the tree not yet an old woman. On either side, halfway down, dangle the two grandmothers, hanging on to the feet of the husbands. The grandfathers are more alike than not: one with his buttons and pots. The other on his porch in old Jerusalem: he would like to throw eggs at the couple who bicycle past, on the Sabbath. Instead, he traces the letters in an old book: they seem raised to him, square like small temples—and here is his legacy to me. Shame, I believe he would say, but I think with an odd pride in it: a granddaughter who looks into the faces of the words, feels their teeth in her, like the woman who nursed a litter of cats instead of her own children.

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When it comes to my branch the tree just stops so that it becomes for now, at least, like the verb to be: all intention. There I sit in the […]

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