The Wisest Aunt, Telling The Saddest Tales

They give her lunch, prick her finger for sugar.
Her stories are usually about being unlucky:
a young soldier is given away by the steam
from his own urine and so on and so forth.

2
During the war it was easy to find piecework;
after the war, it rained the names of the dead.
On her place mat is a map of the world: Canada
is a pink peony pressed into the northern seas.

3
She was the last to hold her daughter's hand;
death entering her had the sting of nettles.
When she was eleven she saw a boy's head
crack like an egg and a gray yolk spill out.

4
A phoebe builds its nest under an awning,
sky-blue and cloud-white stripes like her robe.
Once, against regulations, her son brought
her strawberries: O how delicious they were.

5
In the TV room, Search for Tomorrow is on,
the volume too high, the color all wrong.
How can you search for something that's
certain to arrive and just as certain to pass?

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