A Goodbye Kiss

It was a bright, breezy, unseasonably warm Sunday in late March when I pulled into the parking lot of Parker Institute for Rehabilitation and Nursing Care. Earlier that day, I had called Caroline to let her know I would be coming to see her again, and to find out how she was feeling.

“Terrible,” she growled. “I threw up all my breakfast this morning, and I haven’t had a thing to eat since,” she continued in that distinctive gravelly voice of hers.

Post Op Party Rap

Well, they asked brightly,
feigning interest politely,
“So, how are you… really?”

And my bowtox smile belied
the voice inside
which wanted to scream
and shout and yell
and really tell.

“Well, since you want to know…. really…

Three Little Ladies and Three Seatbelts

Seat belts are life savers in this day and age. Age being the operative word was the real challenge in this endeavor. It appeared to be a simple outing on this family reunion picnic. My daughter, Janette, who was eighteen at the time, volunteered to help me out driving my mother, age ninety, and my two cousins ages eighty five and eighty on this beautiful June day.

My Island

I opened the windows as I do every morning when I get up to look out upon a bright sun filled day.  The colors of the ocean are never the same. Sometimes they are deep blue, sometimes aqua marine (my favorite color) and at other times a line of purple just across the horizon. The ocean on occasion, dredges up forest green seaweed from its hidden floor, darkening the water that noisily hits the beach head. The white caps that roll across the shore vary in size and strength depending on how rough the surf is going to be on any given day.

Poppa

I was twelve years, old the baby in the family. Lilly and Theresa, my big sisters, nineteen and twenty-one were always out with their friends, so I went everywhere with Poppa and Momma. I usually made a fuss, but one look from Momma—boy, did she have a look when she was angry—and I shut up.

A Mother's Prayer

God, I don’t know why my questions go unanswered.
I love this child You’ve given me.
But I don’t know how to cope with the
pain
frustration
exhaustion.

Reactions from well-meaning friends
are sometimes hurtful.
Through their eyes they see,
handicapped
slow
disabled.

If they could only see
through Your eyes
of divine love and mercy,
beautiful
special
beloved.

A Sestina

Walking across the hill with my dog
in a delightfully, leisurely stroll.
The sun is bright and warm with wild
flowers that flavor the air.
My dog Jerry and I are anxious to reach
our favorite spot at the top of the Falls.

A great place to play is on the falls.
Across the top of the hill with my dog
to Buttermilk Falls is a mile reach.
Two levels below is a creek; a stroll;
keeping us comfortable with a cool moist air,
the water in the Owego Creek is not wild.

Jerry and I enjoy swimming in water that isn’t wild.
Our walk is to continue to the top of the falls

My Mother

As I am looking at my mother’s picture some sixty years after she died, at the age of fifty-nine, I realize how little thought I gave to the kind of person she really was when I was much younger. One of my earliest memories of her takes me back to the tiny village of Lichenroth, Germany, where I was born. She was sitting by the window sewing,watching us children playing outside. I believe that her silent presence conveyed a sense of well being and security in us that can never be lost.

My Wedding Dress

Sy and I had been living together for about a year. Our relationship was good and there were no obstacles. We decided to get married. I chose a day in August when my best friend would be in New York from San Francisco and I wanted her at my wedding.

Sy and I looked at several places and chose a lovely restaurant on East 61Street. There was a covered tent over the garden in the rear where 75-80 people could be comfortable during the ceremony and with the restaurant in front for lunch.

Lunch Bell Rang

Lunch bell rang and we ran down the stairs
past the plaster St. Thomas
past the cloister door
into sour Brooklyn’s factory smells
home to our railroad flats.

Mine was three flights up
my father was home from work
and snoring by now
sleep apnea
after two highballs and a long night
baking breads.

 

Fall Colors

You wear your elegant final shades of mustard, amber and curry like Easter bonnets.

“Notice me,” you say, “since I’ll go elsewhere until spring and then return as chartreuse.”

I do notice.

Old Shoes

The sky is streaked with light, giving everything a luminous glow. Singing, chirping coming alive with warmth, another morning.

The Line Is Drawn

The line is drawn.
The division is sure.
The divergence is marked.

Hope, that sad shadow, glances,
for a moment,
at the tiny green leaves
on the tiny green bushes
that grow on the sides of the path
on which the line is drawn.

In the distance,
a rumbling sound.
a charging through fog and dust.
I see ... yes ... I see ....
It comes.
Yes,      Judgment.

The fools ... the greedy fools ...
Did they not know?
The line is drawn.

Tree Burst (November 1944)

Tree burst! Tree burst!

Shards of tree and mortar shell

Whistling down piercing

Helmets and brains

Tree burst!  Tree burst!

No leaves raining down

Only sharp cutting killing

Metal-like branches

Like scythes from heaven

And hell.

Running

Library Time

I was first introduced to the library at the age of ten. I would pass it on my way to school and was itching to go in. One day I gathered up enough courage to do just that. Oh, what a treat. I walked up to the librarian and asked if I could look around. She was a real peach and took me over to the fairytale books and picked out a book by Hans Christian Anderson for me. I sat down and opened the book and the words came alive for me. I read and read, often looking up at the clock on the wall so I would not come home late.

What Doesn't Kill You...

Looking at my image in the mirror today,
me thought it reflected a touch of decay.
Wrinkled skin and thinning hair turned grey
indicated the end was on display.

A thought suddenly came my way:
look not upon yourself with dismay;
remember you are but an imperfect popinjay
modeled from eternal heavenly clay.

Why not reverse this roundelay?
Out of dross create a bold bouquet.
Overcome yourself; be what you want to convey.
Create the values you wish to obey.

The Mayonaise Jar

I loved Miss Miller.  I was sure that she was the best teacher ever.  I was barely five years old and in the first grade--the youngest student in the class.  We were learning how to read and to write and how to hold our pencils properly to write clearly.  There was a small library of books in the back of the classroom.  And Miss Miller would choose a different book each day and read it to us.  I just

Two Comic Strips

In my favorite comic strip, there is a bird in a tree and a cat in the grass below. Spring has arrived, it’s a glorious day, and the bird starts singing. I know this because musical notes are in the balloon pointing to its beak. The cat looks around and then looks up at the bird. And then the cat starts singing the same song! I feel their joy and want to be transported to their little world on the comic page of my newspaper.

The Widower

Such a dark, sad soul
still mourning his long-dead wife
as if her death occurred yesterday.
Half-heartedly he picked up his mantle.
Lacking the courage to join her
he continues to hold himself out
as hers only.

His life is just busy work now:
his children, his church, his car and her cat.
Nothing brings him pleasure.
He awakes each morning to meaningless days.
Till death do us part, but he really
didn’t mean it.

The Monarch

And that bicycle was a MONARCH.  No, not the butterfly, but the Cadillac of bicycles.  Even better than a Schwinn.  Beautiful color—aqua blue with white pin striping.  What a beauty she was.

My Sister's Voice

The room is so still, so quiet, that I can hear the katydids far away, through the open window. My pink and yellow blanket, with the satin trim, is smooth and tucked in all around me on my parent’s big bed. My favorite cuddly doll and my brown teddy

Birthday

The telephone was put in ten years ago–the first he’d ever allowed. A great deal of energy had been spent resisting connection with the outside world when it was not of his choosing!Now, here he was, practically an invalid.His legs hardly worked now.The two elegant brass animal headed canes with which he used to play the Victorian ‘bon vivant’ were now unwieldy sticks he could hardly count on.His bent height and portly but still handsome figure had become to him a Galapagos turtle-like shell serving as protection from close encounters–even as it was

Four Photos

Thanks for inventing the photograph technique, so that people can take pictures of their daily lives and then remember past events that were happy or sad.  A picture is a record of a family’s history and a witness to the development of the family.   I would like to introduce my four pictures to you.

Bamboo

Of all plants, bamboo is my favorite and has been my closest friend, for my whole life.  For me, it’s the most attractive plant.


I was born in a Bamboo Sea. That was the name of my home town because we were surrounded by bamboo wherever we went. When I was a baby, my cradle and my toys were all made of bamboo—my special little round red lantern, a box, a turtle and a rabbit. It’s true, I grew up with bamboo.

Character Bio

What a contrast between where I grew up and where I live now!

 

My home for twenty-two years was beautiful, warm Grenada, West Indies. I was born five years before World War two started. The war affected every one in the island as we depended on imported goods including foods, manufactured goods, textiles, which came by boats from other larger countries. The Caribbean Sea was not safe from the enemies patrolling the area.

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