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ELEGY FOR MY SISTER I Susan Wood l Afterwards, it is morning and the pale bird quivers in the bush, straining to sing. The dandelion lists on its stalk. I puff and the wind hums with your name. I call you Little Silence in the Grass, nothing that ever was. The wind is the mewing of a kitten drowned in a sack. Morning, and my father leans over me, his pitiful eyes waxing with tears. He bends to embrace me, and behind him, in the shadows of our house, the bush is flame, the song, the feathers are burning. 2 See how I have kept it, the morning of your birth and death? I have hidden it away among the baby things, the delicate laces and the tiny gold locket, while I thought of you slipping into dresses I abandoned on polished floors, your thin fingers filling my rings. A tall blond woman with many lovers, whose hands make no mistakes. It is the breath on the back of my neck, the echo of a footstep behind me on the dull stairs. It is the heavy stillness falling from a sudden flash of wings, there, just barely glimpsed, or the silence that shivers the air after birdsong on another morning of the world going on without you, as it will without anyone. T h e M is s o u ri R eview • 13 ...


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