Two Poems

By Kathleen Wedl

Old Lady


If only she had spiked some sharp edges,
or starred in a town scandal 
if she’d harbored an ounce of meanness
my grandmother would be poem fodder.
But she was plump and warm like the feathers

and flannel she tucked us into at bedtime.
 Late at night one or the other of my uncles 
crashed our peace, stinking of drink and manure
not bothering to remove their heavy boots
strewing straw and pig shit 

over the polished floor, violating her horsehair 
couch with their grime-stiff overalls.
The Old Lady, they called her, never mother. No 
terms of endearment. As sons, they’d each received 
a farm, fertile, golden. But like little boys weaned 

from the breast they pestered for some elusive 
appeasement, leaving only when her tears shamed 
them. By morning she was sunny, stirring us awake
with the smell of toast, stewing blueberries,
and her untroubled voice, singing a German lullaby:

“So Viel Stern’ Am Himmel Stehen
   An dem blauen Himmelszelt”
Wished Away


I wish for the days I wished 
my teen granddaughters wouldn’t sprawl 
across my silken bed in street clothes
their pollen infested ripped shorts 
and indoor/outdoor socks
defiling my anti-allergy refuge
reveling in their secrets and embarrassments
trying their bravado on each other 
like leather bustiers. Where was the sage 
warning me to be careful 
what I wished for, those long afternoons
all breathable air saturated with happy
chittering and chortling. They’re gone. 
My satin comforter smooth, fresh 
as the first chill of September. 

Today I’ll gather apples as the air 
becomes crisp, something to put up for winter. 
Think how the jewels will glisten under glass.