Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Poem: previously published by The Paterson Literary Review in 2005

Aunt Aggie Closes Her Eyes

and her soul slips away
like a bolt of dotted Swiss on the breeze
flying higher and higher
toward a Magellanic Cloud.

Good-bye, I say.
Hope you don’t mind
that I conjured up such flimsy stuff.
It’s just that you were gossamer
compared to our workman’s
poplin and kitchen oilcloth.

I see her circling the moon with my father,
Aunt Mary trailing behind them, and Uncle Joe.
She offers a wispy hand to my mother,
pours some tea and sympathy
like she always did,
then whirls, a dizzy mist
toward the grim
outline of her parents,
the thin familiar
arms of Uncle Allen.

 I wave. Thanks, I shout,
especially for your knock-knock jokes,
and for not taking sides when things fell apart.
For serving us your too small Sunday roasts,
so we had to stop for burgers
on the way home, my parents joking
and laughing instead of fighting.

You never added salt to anything.
You gave me my first Pop Tart,
and taught me how to face death
with a heart so full of love
there’s no room left for fear.
I’ll  always remember.

She giggles and shakes her head,
then flies off to ride the Milky Way,
glad to be as passé as Christmas tinsel.
Thus the heavy basket
I’ve carried all my life
becomes a little bit lighter.

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