My Sister’s Funeralby Gerald Stern
Since there was no mother for the peach tree we did it all alone, which made the two of us closerthough closeness brought its loneliness, and it wouldhave been better I think sometimes to be sterilefrom the start just to avoid the pain which in my life this far has lasted seventyyears for I am in love with a skeletonon whose small bones a dress hung for a while,on whose small skull a bit of curly hairwas strung, and what is dust I still don’t knowsince there was no mother to turn to then and askwhat else was she wearing, did she have on shoes,and were the two trees from Georgia, and was ittrue somebody said the other peachshould have died instead of her; and I could imagine the nose going first though forty years laterthe trees were still there and not as big as you’d think;and it was my cousin Red with the flabby lipswho 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 rememberwhich ones had the accents nor what hisHebrew name was, nor his English.
(via)

My Sister’s Funeral
by Gerald Stern

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.

(via)

Apocalypseby Gerald SternOf all sixty of us I am the only one who wentto the four corners though I don’t say itout of pride but more like a type of regret,and I did it because there was no one I truly believedin though once when I climbed the hill in Skyeand arrived at the rough tables I saw the only otherelder who was a vegetarian—in Scotland—and visited Orwell and rode a small motorcycleto get from place to place; and I immediatelystopped eating fish and meat and lived on soups;and we wrote each other in the middle and late fiftiesthough one day I got a letter from his daughterthat he had died in an accident; he wasI’m sure of it, an angel who flew in midairwith one eternal gospel to proclaimto those inhabiting the earth and every nation;and now that I go through my papers every dayI search and search for his letters but to my shameI have even forgotten his name, that messengerwho came to me with tablespoons of blue lentils.

Apocalypse
by Gerald Stern

Of all sixty of us I am the only one who went
to the four corners though I don’t say it
out of pride but more like a type of regret,
and I did it because there was no one I truly believed
in though once when I climbed the hill in Skye
and arrived at the rough tables I saw the only other
elder who was a vegetarian—in Scotland—
and visited Orwell and rode a small motorcycle
to get from place to place; and I immediately
stopped eating fish and meat and lived on soups;
and we wrote each other in the middle and late fifties
though one day I got a letter from his daughter
that he had died in an accident; he was
I’m sure of it, an angel who flew in midair
with one eternal gospel to proclaim
to those inhabiting the earth and every nation;
and now that I go through my papers every day
I search and search for his letters but to my shame
I have even forgotten his name, that messenger
who came to me with tablespoons of blue lentils.