I do not even know your name.
I dredge you up from beneath
Sediments of disregard that the decades
Of silence have laid down.
For months you gathered yourself,
Did your very best to come,
And then, as the time drew near,
Found you were to be left behind
And not after all, to be the longed-for daughter
A lifelong comfort against old age
Nor after all to be my sister,
My counselor, my ally.
I try - and fail - to imagine your pain
As the loud silence filled the delivery room.
The enormity of that moment.
The darkening of your soul.
I hope those in attendance
Doctor and nurse, mourned with you
And did not fail in that very English way
To mark the significance of the passing.
Did you have a name for her?
Did they let you at least cradle her, kiss her cooling brow?
Clasp her to you in one long moment
That was greeting and farewell?