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.