For Unknown


by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick

I wouldn’t recognize
you in a photo
don’t know if you
were man or woman
whether you were young
old, or middle-aged

Did you ride a bike
know how to drive
like to fish
drink wine

Did you have children
brothers, sisters
I don’t know what
god you prayed to
for who, what, or if you voted

Or what songs
you knew all the words to
the flowers you could name
the place you called home

All I know is
as I speak now
I must insist always
on your kindness
must say something
of what you gave
to this stranger

As part of you
is buried here
in my body
in my neck
where it was breaking
in my back
where it was broken
I fuse to slivers
of your bone
and begin to mend

Were you tall, stout
or medium in height
did you have long hair
or was it kept short
did your hands fix engines
roll out pie crusts
wash dishes, build sand castles

The doctors
call you cadaver
but I know you are hope
you are chance
an immeasurable gift
more time

I wonder how many
you gave to
are they man or woman
young or old
are they walking
fishing, riding a bike
do they have children
brothers, sisters

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