Trace fossils

I have evidence of a woman
who loved me so completely,
traces of her linger in cells
that line my cheek and ear.
All the years together
we traveled, miles ribboning
behind us as if we might
outlast it all.

The whole weight of her
footprints has gone to dust,
a vessel of memory
scattered to the wind.
Boxes of letters wilt
in the attic heat.
Memory has the words.

Here is my proof,
set in a heart no one
else can ever see:

For a while we roamed
this life, one proud creature.
She fell away
I could not stay.

In the still part of night
I feel her breathe.


Unborn, Day 28

Your replicating cells divide
my life. Books warns I may not
love you at first, but how not love
this ordinary magic
cells wild with separate lives?

Though you trespass here,
I welcome you. I succumbed to whims
that vanished with morning,
appeared on the crest of decisions
and stayed, wandering in the ark.

Tonight you grow as you will never
grow again. Like a lizard.
undifferentiated cells: leg and hand,
primitive heart and gills.
You are a menagerie of prehistoric
change and necessity.

All this day I have been sick
with the life of you, who are a stranger
to me, distant as Neptune,
mysterious as Juno, small nova
on my horizon, swelling
toward your hour.

July 1989

Christmas, reel-to-reel

We travel with ghosts.
That reel-to-reel tape player
You hid beneath tinsel and bows
Was going to let you last forever.

I could have your voice
To carry, no matter what the years
Stripped away. I interviewed you
Saturday mornings, after Bingo
And Fresca and trinkets I won
From your jewelry box.

Nothing stayed. I can almost bear
The sight of your writing
On old letters in the attic.
But I cannot stand to read
The stories we once shared.

All time comes no more.
I am as old as you were then
And every day, heaven comes closer.
Your voice nearly whispers
In my ear. Crazy is a place
That could keep me from you.



For Grandmom, 93 today

She slips on the world
Our easy living room waltz
Goes the way of time

When I was a little girl, we’d visit my grandmother at her apartment. She’d put on records and teach us to box step. She could always dance, and I believe that although the years have slowed her considerably, her heart is dancing. I am sending great love and light to her this morning, as she is so far away from me in Fairbanks, Alaska. Grandmom, if I could be there, I would.

Grandmom in Alaska


key words:  love, aging, grandparents, grandmom, longing, dancing