My Mother had Three Sisters and a Brother and Other Family Members

The baby’s 97 now.  Ruthie  lives in Delaware.  Last one alive.

We see her once a year or so.  She

was the student child.  Even went to graduate school

in the forties when women didn’t study so much

she studied and studied, married a man who studied too.

He had the good job taught in college became a Dean.

Their three children are  cousins I see

on family occasions once a while.  Yesterday I went to the bus station for

her grandson and his girlfriend, strong Israelis

here for three days.  They have lists.  Not much like me.

Families once had small definitions.

Blood a central factor:  blood that was the same.

Ruthie’s grandson and his girlfriend staying in the guest room

are family of course, but so were a college friend’s daughter Emma

and her boyfriend, here last weekend.  Emma came to

our apartment when she was a baby when they brought her home from India.

Our family is small and big and we all have blood though

it’s not blood that connects us, it’s a path, a big big path winding

around us all where we are, where we go.



Esther Cohen
Let me tell you why I'm here, and why I hope you'll join me. I am here to poem, to play with words, to tell stories when I can, and to ask you for yours. Words are what I love, how I see, and what I say. Words are how I know my life, and how I find my friends. I'm here to ask you to join me. Right here. To send me your stories, and your poems. And to read mine when you can.


  1. I LOVE this poem, about the accordion-like quality of family. Nature and nurture. My family too has these kinds of connections that weave people of all sorts into a family unit with porous edges. Thank you.

  2. I love this poem also. Carolyn your “accordion-like quality of family” was a beautiful description of this poem. Loved that also.

    I godda say I am probably the only one that cracked up at “The baby’s 97 now.” I was just in Fox Nursing Home yesterday in Oneonta. (Yes. There is an Oneonta. Oh-knee-on-ta)) I visit there a lot. If you can get past your eyes you can see each personality and relationship as crazy and wonderful and stubborn and dear. And they’re frustrated with their bodies-just like we are. It’s a bit zooey and messy and wonderfully odd and sad and great just like New York City!
    Lets’s just call nursing homes, going to New Hampshire. Thanks, Esther!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: