Address Book

Tonight I’m looking through Mom’s old address book, pages worn and browned,
some so brittle the dog-eared corners disintegrate as I turn them. 
I find the names of relatives on her side – so my relatives, too –
I’ve never heard of until this very moment, which gives me a chill
of recognition in non-recognition, learning of people who share my blood,
out there in Canada and Wisconsin, I’ve never heard one word about.
This odd feeling, that there are people somewhere with whom I should be close
but aren’t, isn’t just one of a lifetime of non-association.
It’s more that a cousin of mine may be sitting at a desk somewhere right now,
looking through a parent’s address book and realizing at the same time as I
that we have lost connection with extended family not through death,
but through relationships never shared with us, whether by accident or design.

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