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This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series: Sicilian Ancestors

You might find family members you don’t
know exist: half-brothers, half–sisters
living not too far away to visit. Might I find
a better welcome than I had? I ask other family
to be tested, but they shrug. They know
who they are, don’t care about the dead, don’t
want to uproot trees or discover locusts, plagues.
The shock of learning parents had mates, children
before. We create family trees, search records
for discrepancies in dates, places.

Maps of chromosomes lay out questions that
bully receivers with troubling news, mystery fathers,
resentments, shunnings. Incarcerations. Some say,
I don’t want to know. A pill too bitter to swallow.
Don’t ask if you might not like the answers.
Let it be. Don’t give information, location,
evidence to authorities. Gag the impulse.
Follow the ways of old Sicilians. Omertà!
Every sperm’s a goddam secret. Where
is that tender sister I was meant to have?

Photo Credit: GSofV Flickr via Compfight cc

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Joan Mazza

Joan Mazza has worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, seminar leader, and has been a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self (Penguin/Putnam), and her poetry has appeared in Rattle, Whitefish Review, Off the Coast, Kestrel, Slipstream, American Journal of Nursing, The MacGuffin, Mezzo Cammin, and The Nation. She ran away from the hurricanes of South Florida to be surprised by the earthquakes and tornadoes of rural central Virginia, where she writes poetry and does fabric and paper art.

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