for my sister, Vicki
I was rarely home but home when the news came,
Awakened five minutes before the phone rang,
Dressing as if my lover’s lover approached.
I was even more alone than I was,
Listening to my father slog up the stairs.
He knocked before opening my bedroom door.
We were tongueless as we drove in his Buick,
Though I almost screamed at him to go faster.
How strange to drive under the speed limit now!
There, my brother-in-law said, we lost her.
Somehow, I knew he didn’t mean the baby.
A doctor asked if we wanted to see her.
Before I could say yes, my father said no.
Philosophically, he said, death is ugly.
I said nothing to him until the wake.
Despite her there with more make-up than she wore,
I had to believe that she had no end.
But what did I know—me with a beginning?
I asked my father why he drove so slowly.