My cousin called

Her voice sounded as sweet

The lilt in her always upbeat voice

Was so familiar

Her teeth clacked.


She’s my oldest paternal cousin

We’re disappearing quickly now


the keeper of family lore

keeps track of our lives.


She called to say

Another cousin

got out of prison

Christmas Day


He has had his share of tragedy

The encephalitis

And the face blindness

Were not his fault.

The alcohol related vehicular homicide was.


He has lost everything

But his wife

And his life.


He didn’t see either parent buried

Or go to his brother’s memorial

Or see his granddaughter born.


The state made his wife pay

To keep him in prison,

And the victim’s family

Took everything else.


I can find no excuse for what he did

It’s just all so tragic.

We weep for his wife.

And I weep for the boys we were.


My cousin, the keeper of lore

Has a little arthritis,

and a husband with dementia.

We married, she says,

For better or for worse

And there was a lot more

 Of the better.

Views: 71

Comment by koshersalaami on December 31, 2017 at 6:35am

This state making private people pay for prison seems new to me. Like having lost her husband wasn't bad enough. 

I like your poem. 

My mother is now oddly the matriarch of her mother's extended family. That's sort of titular and it's weird because Mom is introverted, so unlikely to be heavily involved. Her mother was the oldest of eight. The second oldest gave birth first, but that cousin died years ago. 

As you disappear, your extended family will split, like in the Forsythe Saga. The reason is that the younger cousins are literally less closely related and have fewer common experiences. It seems like family dissolution because older generations had more kids, so the replacement families generationally are a lot smaller. It feels like it's all because people moved around the country but often that's not all of it. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on December 31, 2017 at 7:27am

That's a curious comment about the effect of family size.  Our parents were two of seven kids.  She is one of two.  I am one of two, The one just released is one of two. Another aunt had one child and my youngest uncle had two and a step daughter.  All of our generation were part of small families.  

Our daughters have a total of three cousins.  I had sixteen because my mother's siblings were more prolific.

The state of Colorado took all of my cousin's social security and the checks from the company he retired from.  I honestly don't know how his wife survived.  That doesn't seem right to me.

Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on December 31, 2017 at 7:37am


Comment by Rodney Roe on December 31, 2017 at 8:05am

Thank you, Jonathan.


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