Friday, December 09, 2011


The streets of San Francisco,
She said of herself, were my

Father and mother, speaking to the quiet guests
In the living room looking down the hills

To the bay. And we imagined her
Walking in the wooden past
Of the western city ... her mother

Was not that city
But my elder sister. I remembered

The watchman at the beach
Telling us the war had ended--

That was the first world war
Half a century ago--my sister
Had a ribbon in her hair.

_________-George Oppen