Family, Poetry

She Would Have Been

Mary Frances
teary eyed still
smiling while
wringing her hands,
a half laugh
the quiver of her chin.

She would have been
shuffling in the house
slippers, her bird-boned
legs a dampered clapper
inside a bell of ruby velour
shushing the floor
and swaying her towards
Eddie Arnold
who croons from the bedside
table to fold
her in sleep.

She would have been
dusting powder
soft folds below her arms,
whispering powder
blue vein into crepe
chiffon before putting on
her lips. She would have been
calling me

Sugar, come over here.
Let me have a look at you.

Her hands

busy laying out the satin slip to wear
to her grave
and open
to me. Always opening,
she would have been
102, teary eyes still
like a mouth
turning up
for a kiss.

101 thoughts on “She Would Have Been”

    1. It’s hard not to tear up sometimes, eh? I caught a whiff of mine the other day opening a trunk full of her handkercheifs. 10 years since she left, and it’s like she walked right up to me and gave me a squeeze.

    1. What a kindness, your words. I hope my writing can improve enough to earn it. Calling her up is the effortless part. Capturing it? That’s where I rely on her to guide my hand.

  1. Poetry can be such a wonderful way to remember those we loved. Here’s one that I edited from unrelated, unpublished writings of Duncan Miller — the epilogue of “The Other Mother:”
    I was a river murmuring in the noonday shade of the trees, coursing through soft green banks.
    We love each other for the sum of what we are.
    Implicit with movement, even in repose.

  2. I realized not too long ago that I don’t have any grandmothers left. I can say that I was fortunate enough to have a great grandmother live until I was nineteen. She was born the year before the Titanic sank.

    This reminded me of her.

  3. Such a Beautiful poem, it reminds me of my grandma. I always remember though that our loved ones always follow us after they are gone. They watch over us and protect us. I am glad you have someone with that much love in your life.

  4. Your grandmother has a very genuine, optimistic smile. If your grandmother would have been 102 then my rough calculation would be this picture was taken in . . . 1931? Wow, the depths of the Depression and she could still smile like that. She must have been made of tough stuff. You’re an excellent poet by the way. I have a blog post on Baudelaire you might be interested in.

    1. It’s funny. I have thought of her age then, as I often do. It didn’t occur to consider the historical context of the photo. I know she had no photos taken at the wedding when she married my grandfather because of war rationing. The only record of it is a brief announcement on yellowing newsprint from the local paper (though I suppose all of us are proof enough!) Thank you for coming by and sharing your thoughts.

  5. Aw, such a great poet you are!! I can only dream that one of my grandchildren will write that of me one day. But they aren’t likely to have any dreamy photos like that one of your grandmother. Beautiful lady — I can see she’ll be missed greatly. And I can see why this was Pressed. Congrats. 🙂

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