Subject: Memories (Sackvill)
Date: Thu, 16 December 1999 02:04 AM EST
The widow taps her stick as she shuffles
with rounded back around her dusty house,
her home for many years. Her pale, gleaming
eyes, which stare without sight, reflect silver
like a winter lake. Her fragile hands cannot
do work they used to do, such as buy
thrift-shop sweaters for a dollar, unravel,
wash, color them with homemade dyes, then knit
them with characteristic flair into
pullovers or cardigans she dressed up
with exquisitely painted buttons.
For company, she turns on the TV, or
listens to talking books. On cloudless
mornings of blazing sun when she can make
out shapes, she steeps green tea, which she pours
shakily into a bone china cup
whose rim she first taps gently, with a worn
silver spoon, for the bell-like sound it makes,
as her mother did before her. She
remembers how the cup glowed with radiant
light where the early morning sun flowed through.
Her house's scent hints of potpourri from
the summer she dried and hung in a recess
in the wall of her creamy white front hall
a garland of sweet-smelling lavender,
lemon verbena, and rose geranium.
She placed it by an ivory Kwan Yin
which had gleamed at her from a shadowy
corner at a garage sale, choosing her
to be visible to like a cat its
chosen owner. At night she lights the niche with
amber light, the way her husband liked it.
It makes it seem as if he just left the room,
helps to soothe the inner weeping she feels
for him through the lonely days, the lonely nights.