Gabriel Fried

Family Gathering

No one here has ever seen the desert
or the meadows of the afterlife.

I still love weddings (I try to make it
home for those), but I feel unwelcome

at funerals. I do not cause their deaths,
of course; but by now I must admit

that I do not improve their living.
For this, I am mistrusted, as a grazing

herd mistrusts the crows on either side
of carnage. In time, I tell myself,

I will detach from my own stillness,

become a witness of my own restraint.

For now, I shake the seething

off me like a dog shakes off pond water,

or a boy waggles off grain as he emerges
like a migrant from the fields.




"Family Gathering"is reprinted from Making the New Lamb Take (2007) by permission of Sarabande Books.