Kindred Dead

Thomas Frazier,
Son of William K. and Mary Frazier.
Two short lines on a tombstone—
the sum total of the brief life of a male child,
a son,
a brother,
an embryo spirit sent earthward
to fulfill God’s eternal plan.
I seek to identify him
in compliance with certain guidelines
but can only deduce from a census record
that a male child,
five years and under in 1840
son of William Frazier and wife,
was no longer living in 1849
when, father dead,
the children of William K. Frazier
were listed in the Orphans Court records.
And there, in the bill of sale,
among the schedule of property taken by the widow
(his second wife),
is one family bible
and a lot of family pictures
clues, perhaps, to the short life,
the ever so necessary birthdate,
and parentage
of Thomas Frazier;
records which are now lost to me
tucked away perhaps in some unknown’s bureau drawer
or stored away on a bookshelf.
And oh, the frustration I feel
as his spirit calls to mine—
I was here.
I am kin.
Please don’t forget.

[illustration] Illustrated by Jerry Harston