The Inevitable Improvements of Death

My mother stood
beside my grandmother
(her mother-in-law)
and made pastry
in exactly the same manner.

I stand in my own kitchen
the lights mostly out
sirens in the Friday street
and write while upright
just as Thomas Wolfe did.

The results are never similar.
Mother’s pastry was good, eatable
but not the same as Nanny’s
and certainly not in memory
once dear Nanny died.

Wolfe was dead at thirty-seven
of miliary tuberculosis
his reputation has faltered
amongst some, but not me
for I never sat down to read him.


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