Family faces modulate
like variations on a theme,
so that in chordal passages
the decades shift without a seam,
the living echoing the dead
to dress themselves in borrowed grace.
I like to find my father's look
safe in my son's unwounded face.
Such grave harmonics lend us back
the only paradise we know;
an idle game with time, but still,
not bad, as resurrections go.
Rhina P. Espaillat
Landscapes with Women: Four
Singular Speech Press,
1999. Reprinted by permission