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Gerald Stern
Gerald Stern
Gerald Stern was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1925. His recent books...
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My Sister's Funeral

 
by Gerald Stern

Since there was no mother for the peach tree we did it 
all alone, which made the two of us closer
though closeness brought its loneliness, and it would
have been better I think sometimes to be sterile
from the start just to avoid the pain 
which in my life this far has lasted seventy
years for I am in love with a skeleton
on whose small bones a dress hung for a while,
on whose small skull a bit of curly hair
was strung, and what is dust I still donít know
since there was no mother to turn to then and ask
what else was she wearing, did she have on shoes,
and were the two trees from Georgia, and was it
true somebody said the other peach
should have died instead of her; and I could 
imagine the nose going first though forty years later
the trees were still there and not as big as youíd think;
and it was my cousin Red with the flabby lips
who said it, he had red eyes, a red monstrosity,
a flabby body, half the house was filled with 
male cousins, they were born in rooms a 
short distance from the rats, I canít remember
which ones had the accents nor what his
Hebrew name was, nor his English. 






"My Sisterís Funeral" is reprinted from Everything is Burning by Gerald Stern. Copyright © 2005 Gerald Stern. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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