It always felt like summer vacation.
Judy Collins sang “Cook With Honey”.
We ate blackberry pie with chopsticks,
Holding our mouths close to our Blue Willow plates.
Hours in the Art Museum and library.
The sharp, salty taste of an old deli.
Watching “Fiddler On The Roof”.
Just for fun, researching the Bubonic Plague.
A Greyhound trip to Denver.
Holiday laughter at the kids’ table.
Falling asleep in her black recliner
With a book and the Sunday paper
On my face and on the floor.
Bob Marley crooning.
Pasta water bubbling.
Tomatoes, onions, garlic simmering,
Veiling the kitchen windows with fog.

A frosty Monday morning.
She’s steamed up the kitchen cooking oatmeal.
Her breathing is harsh and wheezing
When she carries the bowls and brown sugar in to the table.
Her step is steady but a little slower
At least here in the apartment.
She doesn’t seem any more stooped.
She catches me looking.
I think I see a challenge in her eyes.
I quickly look away.
She sits down, straightens, and almost smiles.
We quietly spoon up our oatmeal.
A dog wuffs as it walks up the back stairs.
Anna asks her the big questions she’s brought:
What’s your most valued piece of technology?
What events do you fear?
What do you want most?
I listen for a minute then I lean back
And look at our history hung all over the walls.
Grandma’s children and her children’s children
And the others.
She babysat till she was seventy-five.
After we hug her “goodbye”,
She goes toward the recliner.
(I like to imagine that- like I did-
She’ll be “catching a snooze”.)
“The back porch used to be my office.
That’s where I kept my dress-up clothes,
My colored paper, and my chalk.
No one else was allowed to touch it.”
“You told me that already.
You’re really starting to repeat yourself.”
By the shores of Gitchee Gumee.
St. Patrick’s where they say a Spanish Mass.
Playing “The Minister’s Cat” till midnight.
Eating pink grapefruit with a spoon.
We’re miles away
But now
The fog from her oatmeal
Makes it hard for me to see.

1 Response to “Equinox”

  1. 1 wordyrappinghood
    December 22, 2008 at 09:09

    What a lovely poem…A real ethereal feel to it my friend..

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