Tag Archives: Family



Mother’s shrinkage was marked by domicile

House, apartment, retirement and nursing home
shedding at each move, furniture, china, and art
except for, and never, the old photo albums
heavy in padded leather brown and green

Each visit when conversation stuttered to a stall
(Religion all but Baptist drowned
and what use is weather without crops)
out would come the albums
and in we all would dive
for pennies
bright and shiny at the bottom of the pool

Here’s one from 1958
how young the queen looked then



Already old when I was young
revered as I would hope to be when old

Two brothers married to
two sisters of my father’s father

Great aunts
always as they’ve always been
busily bustling round the house

while the uncles somehow stay
both present and out of the way

Little china cups in work-hard hands
black coffee and home-brew
sipping the day away



I lost my father
when he was sixty one

He wasn’t exactly lost
I knew where he was
but he didn’t

Six weeks in a coma
some parts he sent ahead
and some came back

The great Swiss-German
precision driven
driven precision
mind stopped ticking

True the right artistic side
the one he’d put away
the one that mostly died
when his mother died
at eight came out to play

Whatever we hadn’t resolved
and there was plenty
stayed that way

but art is no small
thing either



My grandfather came to Canada
trailing the civilities of Europe

Planted ten thousand trees
on the bald-assed prairie

Plenty of produce for a family
and acres and acres and acres
of flowers as well

On the other side of a depression
and the rationings of war
every plant like every animal
on my parents’ ranch
had to pay its way

At our house in Austin
we have only flowers