For Grandma

You were born in spring,

and your life

was measured by summers

upon the waters of Minnesotan lakes and the Casco Bay.


Taker of dares,

new places always drew you.

Out across the world

you flew

with Northwest Airlines.

Quick to smile,

high cheekbones,

you caught the eye

of a kind adventurer

one night in the air above Alaska,

And in Colorado, Chile and among the quiet oaks of Reston, Virginia,

together you raised your three daughters and your son.



decades after making them,

your memories amazed.

Unhitching trolley cars,

jumping out of windows,

and traversing South America with babies in tow.

You were 85 years old when I followed in your footsteps

and crossed the oceans to stay.

You never said you’d miss me,

only, “I wish I could go!”



I bound my heart to yours.

Driving up the coast together,

vanilla ice cream for lunch.

Winding along wooded byways

with the windows down;

sweet summer air.


Perennial hostess,

for me, joy bloomed in your home.

You expressed it with flowers on your table:

buttery yellow and white daffodils at Easter;

Christmastime was fragrant greens, ivy,

and a red poinsettia.


Mother of my mother,

How many meals did you cook for me,

and how many desserts did we share,

laughing over our tea and pie a la mode?

How many nights did I sleep

wrapped in linen and wool under your roof?

How many loved ones of mine did you welcome

with your smile, your music, your flowers?

How many wishes did you send me

with your pressed violets, pansies, ferns, and buttercup petals?

With these you gave me yourself.

With these, I knew your love.


Now I see you in your cotton apron

before the windows at the dark wood table,

arranging a bouquet

with your hands,

dainty, yet strong and ruddy, like pink carnations,

always with your slender watch and golden wedding ring.

Your hair as white as lilies of the valley,

your eyes blossoms of a hyacinth,

your lipstick a shade of azaleas in the garden,

and a scarf tied neatly about your neck.



June 14, 2014


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