She lost her sister, first — a blood clot
smaller than her little-fingernail
lodged in an artery. Sudden, swift,
and some said merciful,
death kindly came and stopped for her,
as the Amherst spinster said.
But these were folk from warmer latitudes —
“The Islands” or “Back Home,” and she would see to it
her sister’s body rested with her kin.
And so began the tedious task
of paperwork and plans,
till loaded on a transport,
one more crate among the others,
not the only body there to find
its place with freezers, air conditioners
and TV sets, purchased with hard-earned
US dollars, headed “Home” by air.
A sudden squall, a storm — whatever —
the black box undiscovered, told no tales;
but — long and short — the transport ditched at sea;
the crew now numbered with the packaged dead —
and all the crates — appliances and her body —
plummeting to an unintended burial at sea.
And so she lost her sister, twice. The family
would still put flowers on the empty grave,
in memory — as memory was all
that still remained.
Tobias Haller BSG
March 7, 2008