My Sister's Funeral
Since there was no mother for the peach tree we did it all alone, which made the two of us closer though closeness brought its loneliness, and it would have been better I think sometimes to be sterile from the start just to avoid the pain which in my life this far has lasted seventy years for I am in love with a skeleton on whose small bones a dress hung for a while, on whose small skull a bit of curly hair was strung, and what is dust I still don’t know since there was no mother to turn to then and ask what else was she wearing, did she have on shoes, and were the two trees from Georgia, and was it true somebody said the other peach should have died instead of her; and I could imagine the nose going first though forty years later the trees were still there and not as big as you’d think; and it was my cousin Red with the flabby lips who said it, he had red eyes, a red monstrosity, a flabby body, half the house was filled with male cousins, they were born in rooms a short distance from the rats, I can’t remember which ones had the accents nor what his Hebrew name was, nor his English.
"My Sister’s Funeral" is reprinted from Everything is Burning by Gerald Stern. Copyright © 2005 Gerald Stern. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1925. His recent poetry collections include Galaxy Love (W. W. Norton, 2017); Divine Nothingness (W. W. Norton, 2014); In Beauty Bright (W. W. Norton, 2012); Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992 (W. W. Norton, 2010), and Save the Last Dance (2008).
Date Published: 2005-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/my-sisters-funeral