We didn’t know our grandfather died
before our births, but then, why would we?
My Mother never talked about ‘them’
and she was all we had.
I knew our grandmother was alive and spitting
because she took back the furniture she gave,
yet she looked so kind and lovely in the photograph.
My brother actually knew uncle Jack
and cousin Steve went to the same school as me
but now that we have met across the internet
I can’t be sure I want to hear his news about
the family that, like lepers, cut us off.
We didn’t know, only suspected, our deserter Dad
had married before and that we had a half-sister,
now I know her name, have seen her picture too.
She ‘disappeared’ in 1945.
Great grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and their children,
ancestors in black and white, posed stiffly for the camera,
and famous Bobby Osborn from old cartoons
opinionated fisherman whose height equalled his girth.
Is it true, you never miss what you never knew
and when at last you know, is it too late?

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