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Distant Relation

A woman in Brazil may
or may not be my cousin,
sends photographs would I please
see if anyone looks familiar
and there
on my screen on my desk
the Atlantic City beach bright behind them,
the tsar and his war decades in the past:
my grandparents,
looking at someone from Brazil
who holds a camera. A hemisphere away
the maybe cousin brings
fruit compote to
a family dinner, and

given the way things work,
the way that dust motes
float from place to place,
drift down around the world,
the silt on my spring windowsill
may have been in Montana just last month
or on a Chinese breeze a century ago
flown from the Sahara Kalahari
Minsk or Mainz or Patagonia in
the Middle Ages and
on some yet-to-be-imagined street
may brush the cheek of my
great-great-grandchild
or of someone in Brazil
taking a picture at the beach.

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©2004 Ellen Steinbaum

My photo on the home page is by Peter Urban.
The cover of my book, Afterwords, was designed by Kate Misail.
The Painting on the cover of Afterwords is by Eric Sealine.
The painting on the cover of Container Gardening is by Faith Hochberg.

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