Barry Sternlieb



You say it was summer,

1948, in the big white

farmhouse, a memory

clear as the footsteps

of your mother and aunt

carrying their dead mother

to the kitchen, when all

that seemed to matter

was a closer look

at the wasted body

naked on the table.

You saw the sewing basket,

bucket, and sponges, but

your mother moved quickly,

grazed your dark hair

with a single kiss and said,

We should get grandma ready,

then led you outside

closing the door.

So many years later,

I can see by those words

the way to love,

stitched, like our histories,

into the world.