123: Old Country Portraits by Richard Robbins

My lost sister used to try the trick

with the tablecloth, waiting until

the wine had been poured, the gravy boat filled,

before snapping the linen her way


smug as a matador, staring down

silver and crystal that would dare move,

paying no mind to the ancestor gloom

gliding across the wallpaper like clouds


of a disapproving front—no hutch

or bureau spared, no lost sister sure

the trick would work this time, all those she loved

in another room, nibbling saltines,


or in the kitchen, plating the last

of the roast beef. How amazed they would be

to be called to the mahogany room

for supper, to find something missing,


something beautiful, finally, they could

never explain, the wine twittering

in its half-globes, candles aflutter, each

thing in its place, or so it seemed then,


even though their lives had changed for good.



This poem can be found in the volume, Body Turn to Rain.

Think about how the poem made you feel. Could you picture the snap of the tablecloth? Do you wish you knew more about the lost sister, and where she went?

May you live out another beautiful poem in the collection of your life today, and we’ll see you again tomorrow.

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