Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Morning Poetry

summer daisy

Grandmother Grace

I didn't give her a goodbye kiss
as I went off in the bus for the last time, 
away from her House in Williamsburg,Iowa, 
away from her empty house with Jesus 
on all of the walls, with clawfoot tub and sink, 
with the angular rooms that trapped my summers. 

I remember going there every summer-
every day beginning with that lavender kiss, 
that face sprayed and powdered at the upstairs sink
then mornings of fragile teacups and old times, 
afternoons of spit-moistened hankies and Jesus,
keeping me clean in Williamsburg, Iowa.

Cast off, abandoned, in Williamsburg, Iowa,
I sat in that angular house with summer
dragging me onward, hearing how Jesus
loved Judas despite his last kiss, 
how he turned his other cheek time after time, 
how good wouldn't let the good person sink.

Months later, at Christmas, my heart would sink
when that flowery letter from Williamsburg, Iowa
arrived, insistent, always on time,
stiff and perfumed as summer.
She always sealed it with a kiss, 
a taped-over dime, and the words of Jesus.

I could have done without the words of Jesus;
the dime was there to make the message sink
in, I thought, and the violet kiss, 
quavering and frail, all the way down from Williamsburg, Iowa,
sealed some agreement we had for the next summer
as certain and relentless as time. 

I didn't know this would be the last time.
If I had, I might have even prayed to Jesus
to let me see her once again next summer.
But how could I know she would sink, 
her feet fat boats of cancer, in Williamsburg, Iowa,
alone, forsaken, without my last kiss?

I was ten, Jesus, and the idea of a kiss
at that time made my young stomach sink.
Let it be summer.  Let it be Williamsburg, Iowa. 

Happy Sunday, friends. 

"Grandmother Grace" is from Tunes for Bears to Dance To published by University of Pittsburgh Press.  


Thyme (Sarah) said...

What a powerful and moving poem. It seems we all have someone in our lives that we just don't realize how important they are until much, much later. Your poem shows the sweetness of youth and captures its innocence. Have a wonderful Sunday too!

Marilyn said...

These words are so reminiscent of my childhood and grandma. Yes, even the dime taped over in a letter and the spit-moistened hankies. Pictures of Jesus, yes they were there too.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother died nearly 30 years ago and yet I think of her nearly every day. I wish so much I could talk with her and ask her questions that I couldn't have when I was 23. The last time I saw her she wept, most uncharacteristically. Later, I thought she must have known. But luckily I do believe her love is as real now as it was then.

S. Etole said...

Love the photo you have chosen to accompany this poem.

Scrappy Grams said...

oh, such a warm and loving remembrance, tears are sliding down my cheeks.

Claire said...

Lovely. Just lovely.

Jennifer Richardson said...

just wow.
so powerful....thank you.

Tracy said...

Oh, what this one does to the heart... I'd not come across this one before, I don't think. Thank you, Relyn! We're just back from our trip the US. Lovely to catch up here with you. :o) ((HUGS))

elizabeth said...

This photo makes me so very very happy!

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