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My Grandmotherís Visit


As if my child, I lead her to the plane

Where I must let her climb the stairs alone

And take her seat behind the doubled pane.

Within the waiting planeís wide body, bone,

Like the blown shell of an egg, and blood, too thick

To pulse sometimes, constrain the dynamo Iíve known;

And what she might become beyond this quick,

Dark flight, I canít imagine. Even now

The stairs fold up and in and I feel heartsick.

Each visit ends like this. In time we bow

To the necessity and claim profound

Returns in memory. I see her now,

Searching for berries Iíd already found

Deep in the orchardís summer shade

And gobbled up when she was not around.

The apples that she picked for pies were flayed,

Their skins coiled on the kitchen counter tiles,

And cut to fit the perfect crusts she made.

Hygenic fury scrubbed off all our smiles

And washed our cotton shorts and shifts to shreds.

Oh golden, garden summers, happy isles!

She drove and tucked us crisply into bed.

Now empty as the house, she cannot sleep

Who once cured every ill, held every head.

Bereft of every life her iron will lived to keep,

Reluctantly, she follows us out west.

No matter how I love her sheís distressed,

Who cannot give her back the life she gave,

That life become more haunting than the grave.


Suzanne Doyle



© 1992 Suzanne J. Doyle.  Used by permission.

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