Thursday, December 6, 2007


by Liz Southwood (c) 1998


coddled eggs and toast
husband’s smile and words and hugs
kids in a good place
no telephone
The Bishop’s Wife
tiny helping hand
large helping hand
big pillow
cookie party
Sunday morning
chatting with friends
windows washed
gasoline in car

age was ripe.
She was too well-fed --
doted on truffles,
drooled over English toffee.
She had no dread
for the future of anybody
on her deathbed.
She turned her head
and died alone.
She hadn’t put
aside an inheritance
for anybody.
No heirs disputed
over what she’d owned.
Her capacious, costly, dowdy clothes
went to her cleaning lady,
in lieu of money,
her house to pay
for care of
an imposing mausoleum
where she planned to
lie serene as any ancient queen,
with warm stained-glass
hues painting reds, greens, and blues
on an iceberg-lettuce colored
molded tomb
from jutting chin
to hands folded in prayer
and turned-out feet.
Nobody wanted anything
to remember her by --
not a teapot, not a silver spoon
was coveted.

Her first cousin,
decrepit, thin,
with a sweet, still pretty face,
and a sparkle in her eyes,
was generous with her pittance
and her love.
She buried her cousin
in the gloomy mausoleum on
a chilly, overcast day.
Faint, shuffling
as she walked,
she stumbled with her
granddaughter, Ci-Ci,
an observant seven,
who reached up,
took her hand and
balanced her
with a comforting touch.

Old Granny walked
then with aplomb,
like a queen escorted
to her throne,
and never minded that
her clothes were
from a sale at church,
though put together
with customary flair,
a dash of pixie,
a sort of charming air
which caused some to
look at her a second time
and ask, “Where did you
find that suit or scarf
or ribbon in your hair?”
She left her pittance
to her kids, sorry it wasn’t more,
and asked that her ashes be scattered
in her garden on a sunny day when the west wind
blew, where birds still feasted on berries
and pecked among the roses.

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