What the Stone Says

. . . his life no more than the sound of his name,
the time it took to say it. – Irini Spanidou, Before

I’ve a sister
older than me
but whose lifespan
was mere minutes—

BORN & DIED says
her small stone, then
a single date
in November.

how old she’d be
this year. Sometimes
I write poems

about her. This time
I’m not going
to tell her name.
This time I won’t

reconstruct how
it was for my
parents the day
she came and went.

Let’s say I’ve lived
three or four books’
worth of days, then
what about her?

The ampersand
tells the whole truth
and nothing but,
so help me God,

whose divine shrug
is expressed so
by that grave mark.