Fall 1989 • Vol. XI No. 4 Poetry |

The Etiquette of Grief

The doll cried what I Wanted to cry, the inconsolable Repetitive maa-maa Bleating from the rose Of perforations in its back. My father had just died, And my mother stood At the sink, back turned, Peeling potatoes. She wanted not to frighten us Or herself, as I want, Now she's dead and past Caring, to let her mourn, To bring her back And let her sit, lumpy And disheveled on the sofa. Her freckled arms sag Between her knees. She stares Through us children, and lets The tears smear and dribble Down her face. Her nose Runs, but she doesn't wipe it. He's gone, she whispers. What will become of me?

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The doll cried what I Wanted to cry, the inconsolable Repetitive maa-maa Bleating from the rose Of perforations in its back. My father had just died, And my mother stood […]

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