The Picture

In the front parlor

where nobody but company ever

is invited to sit,

hangs an 11 x 14 photograph

of my sister


who died of leukemia

way before I was born.


It is her second grade school picture

the one Mr. Cardoni hand colored

as a gift

to my parents.

In it she wears a pink dress

with a white square collar embroidered with

tiny pink rosebuds.

An ivory silk bow ties together

a riot of blonde curls.

She has blue eyes

(the only one of us who does) and

her smile is bright and happy.

She does not know what we know:

That she will never be in third grade;

That she will never see her baby brother

who is born on the very day she died;

That her mother will mourn her loss

until she herself leaves this earth.

That this picture will be my only connection to





8 thoughts on “The Picture

  1. Okay, Diane. You made me cry this morning. This is a beautiful poem – the line breaks are just right, – especially placing the word “Her” on the last line alone. The sentiments expressed here are so simple, so sweet, so from-the-heart. Thanks for sharing it with us. It really is quite wonderful!


  2. Thank you for sharing such an intimate memory. It is clear how much family means to you since this is a sister you never knew. A beautiful tribute, and you are a wonderful poet.


  3. speechless -I kept thinking of your mother – how do you say goodbye to one child and welcome another on the same day. She must have been an incredible woman. I cannot even imaging. Powerful poem – beautifully written.
    Thank you


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