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