Wendy Cope – For My Sister, Emigrating

You’ve left with me
the things you couldn’t take
or bear to give away –
books, records and a biscuit-tin
that Nanna gave you.

It’s old and dirty
and the lid won’t fit.
Standing in a corner of my room,
quite useless, it’s as touching
as a once loved toy.

Yes, sentimental now –
but if you’d stayed,
we would have quarelled
just the same as ever,
found excuses not to phone.

We never learn. We’ve grown up
struggling, frightened
that the family would drown us,
only giving in to love
when someone’s dead or gone.