He never knew the Pennsylvania farm
On which his sister grew to an adult
He never knew his grandma or the warm
Dark soil that was hers; ‘twas the result
Of being taken from the place where all
The rest of the grandchildren called their home
His mother gave him up when he was small
And she a poor young woman on the roam
Who raised one girl already all alone.
Once this boy came and went she headed back
To live on the old farm from which she’d flown
Whose peace bade her imagination wrack
Itself for visions: how he might have grown,
How whether unlike her he had the knack
To wink one eye when both together could
Like sibling children but co-operate.
An only-child nephew would make do
As centerpiece for musings that would spate
Themselves upon her; is that why she drew
Both mother, daughter with her for the trip
Each year down to the old “north state” where moved
That nephew with his parents. None dared slip
To mentioning the secret child she loved
Who held her yearning heart within a grip
Four decades long before she heard the knock
And turned the latch, and opened wide the door
To eyes blue as her own — was there a shock
Of knowing this face she’d not seen before
Not since he was an infant in a smock?
We’ll never know: some secrets will endure
And what endures besides them but the bond
That formed between two cousins brought beneath
One roof each year she visited with fond
Imaginings that she’d around one wreath.
And which of us would that lone nephew be?
Of course he could be no one else but me.
A surrogate twin sister thus was made
For me through all those visions: for each other
My cousin and myself these roles so played
It’s fair to say she’s always had a brother.