I have decorated this banner to honor my brother.
Our parents did not want his name used publicly
— from an unnamed child’s banner in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The boatpond, broken off, looks back at the sky.
I remember looking at you, X, this way,
taking in your red hair, your eyes’ light, and I miss you
so. I know,
you are you, and real, standing there in the doorway,
whether dead or whether living, real. — Then Y
said, “who will remember me three years after I die?
What is there for my eye
to read then?”
The lamb should not have given
his wool.
He was so small. At the end, X, you were so small.
Playing with a stone
on your bedspread at the edge of the ocean.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Jean Valentine's poem X

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