See the sprawling branches of a tree
bound by bloodties and surnames
on the wall. Frame by frame,
be awed by milestones and anniversaries.
Look closely at the kindegarten shows,
graduations, holidays abroad and weddings
of relatives close and distant. Notice how
at reunions and birthdays every one smiled
their genuine best, their artificial best.
Can you, like Tolstoy, distinguish
the unhappiness of each unhappy family?
We were told, for the sake of posterity,
resentment and rivalry would look ugly.
So we kept them veiled, masked and hidden.
We let the poison slowly, quietly fester
while frame by frame, the precious prints on the wall
slowly, quietly discolour and fade.