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Extending Family

Those were Grandpa's odd eyes
looking out past my shoulder,
sepia-toned and stoic from high on the wall.
I gazed back through desuete glass,

then read the hands of the woman,
cameo-cut, edged in Valenciennes lace,
holding a blur of bobbed hair on her ramrod lap.
Quiet, hush -- but the baby
would not be stilled
any more than my own
by bribe or photographer's ploy.

For sixty dollars each
I could purchase their histories
framed in dark cherry
(a fine match for my Queen Anne),
have them parceled in newsprint,
extending decor and family annals
by one more great aunt
or cousin much removed.

I'd say, Aunt Sarah's brooch
was willed to me. They said
it was lost in the move, but
I'm suspicious it was
Or, What a shame
Grandpa had such queer eyes;
he'd have been quite handsome otherwise.

May 14, 2001

Donna Smith

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