Monday December 9
I forgot to leave a bounce back message on my email; I’ll do that in a minute. A few days in western Nevada, Carson City, where my sister and her family live. A perfect time away from campus — lots of snow, lots of small mountains, lots of sun and ice. My neice Terri lives here too, with her husband and two small children. So I am picking another of her poems while she and her husband crank up for a work day in a high school here. It’s about being an observant child perceiving in her grandmother signs of frailty and diminishment all woven with beauty.
I might miss some days if it gets lazy enough. Back in Motown Friday
Have a good week.
A Fear That Would Like to be Acknowledged
Green tomatoes cluster on vines
small and swollen as grandmother’s knuckles
knotted from clothespins and crosswords
curled into the shape of too much use.
The plants reach tall as my chin when
raised. From the same height, she surveys
ninety-four years of harvest and history:
the farms, lightening rods on every roof,
the brother who lay broken
beneath the tree he had climbed to
find apples for her.
On shadowed branches, bunches of yellow
star-petals spread, slight as her thinning arms,
bright like her gaze for
grandchildren and guardian angels.
Stems surge straight upward, lithe
with water, where her bones have brittled
and bent. But grandma has stubbornness on her side,
and her shrunken hunch encloses a life dense
with memories of fight.
As autumn leans in, family gathers
to her age, listening carefully, testing her words
for ripeness or rot. From fear, her youngest grandchild
plucks and dries each sound, recording her stories
for the winter when blooms