Robert was my mother's brother. He died in 1929, at the age of 16. According to police, he died after accidentally drinking a chemical with which he had been experimenting in the basement of his building. He was experimenting with a glass of water and another glass contained a chemical, and upon conclusion of the experiment, he drank the chemical mistaking it for water.
I think about Robert from time to time. He was my uncle, and he tragically died about 20 years before I was born. The house in which this happened still stands on a Brooklyn street, and memories of childhood visits there appear in my poems and other works.