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Last Supper


In the house where a father lies dying,

grown-up daughters and sons

have begun surreptitiously grieving

while hospice nurses, like nuns,

murmur their grave observations:

the patient has passed beyond pain,

beyond intransigent passions

and the filial bonds that remain.


For years, when holiday suppers

gathered this clan to its seat,

the keeper of mores and manners

said grace before children could eat.

But now we are children no longer:

unsteady, a son takes the head

of a table where grandchildren hanker

for the roast and the unblessed bread.


Alan Sullivan



2002, Alan Sullivan.  Reprinted by
permission of the author.

by Grapholina

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