Martha said, “She looks just like herself.

My sister replied, “I can’t look.”

Mr. Brattle, the undertaker, urged us

to view what a success he had produced,

making her “pretty” as she would have desired.

Didn’t matter what anyone said,

I couldn’t see her dead, just couldn’t.

If I’m being honest, I still couldn’t

all these years later, but I have begun

to want to talk with her again,

to have my mother listen and offer

her elemental view of the world.

I am left to wonder whether absence

is necessary for recognition of worth

in another, especially of one who filled

a function, a role, in your own self-

centered take on the universe.


Jeanette Willert

I am a former Associate Professor of English Education at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY and served as Director of the Western New York Writing Project while there.  I was recently, the Vice-President of the Alabama State Poetry Society and was honored as their 2018 Poet of the Year.

  My chapbook Appalachia, Amour won the Morris Chapbook Award (2017), Goat’s MilkWINK, U-Rights, Libretto and, Crosswinds Poetry journals among others have published my poemsMy work also appeared in the 2017 (Vol. 9) and the 2020 Anthology of Appalachian Writers (Vol. 12). My first book of poetry it was never Eden published by Negative Capability Press (Mobile, AL) will be released this year. 


  1. very deep meaning quite taken by this poem.

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