God, my hands are old.
I've never said that out loud before
but they are.
I was so proud of them once.
They were soft
like the velvet smoothness of a firm, ripe
Now the softness is more like
or withered leaves.
When did these slender, graceful
become gnarled, shrunken claws?
They lie here in my lap;
naked reminders of this worn out
body that has served me too well.
How long has it been since someone
Twenty years I've been a widow.
But never touched.
Never held so close that lonliness
was blotted out.
I remember how my mother used to
hold me, God.
When I was hurt in spirit or flesh,
she would gather me close,
stroke my silky hair,
and caress my back with her warm
O God, I'm so lonely!
I remember the first boy who ever
We were both so new at that!
The taste of young lips and popcorn,
inside me of mysteries
I remember Hank and the babies.
How else can I remember them
For out of the fumbling, awkward
attempts of new lovers
came the babies.
And, as they grew, so did our love.
And, God, Hank didn't seem to mind
body thickened and faded
He still loved it and touched it.
And we didn't mind if we were no
And it felt so good.
And the children hugged me a lot.
O God, I'm lonely!
God, why didn't we raise the kids
to be silly and affectionate
as well as dignified and proper.
You see, they do their duty.
They drive up in their fine cars.
they come to my room
to pay their respects.
they chatter brightly, and reminisce.
But they don't touch me.
they call me Mom, or Mother
My mother called me Minnie.
So did my friends.
Hank called me Minnie, too.
But they're gone now.
And so is Minnie.
Only Grandma is here.
And God! She's lonely!
©1974 from MIND SONG, by Donna Swanson, 2099N 75W, Williamsport, IN 47993. May not be reproduced in any form without written consent of author.
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