Family Face

by Eileen Brener

            I am the family face;
            Flesh perishes. I live on…
                        Thomas Hardy, “Heredity”


Always a funeral
pulls us back—
Peachtree Street,
the old compound,
we sisters and cousins,
quiet now, thin,
sit among blossoming
trees—fuchsia, cerise,
azalea shrubs planted
by grandparents.

The next generations
parents, babies—
all the old stories
retold to the undersong
of loss.  We hear
in a teen’s voice notes
of an aunt’s lilting alto
and recognize my father’s
curly red hair on a ten-
year-old he never knew.

As an appellate court staff attorney in pre-IRP days, Eileen Brener wrote proposed opinions and occasionally taught—“lord help me!”—legal writing.  Now, thanks to IRP, she has left lawyerly letters for fiction—dark stories and light poems.