‘Let me tell you Honey, all those things I used to worry about?
They never happened.’ Aunt Muriel
I wake up at dawn and sip black tea from a big hot cup.
It’s her birthday today.
I wonder what she is doing now.
I imagine her awake and on her ipad reading messages
in a sunny breezy room strung
with greeting cards like prayer flags
an afghan around her shoulders
crocheted by nuns.
There is a book about JFK at her bedside.
She will tell me, marveling
‘Inside I still feel like the same I have all my life. Like I am twenty-two!’
‘So! Come and sit! Tell me what’s new!’
Now what do I do ?
I sadden as I anticipate this lady, who bought my first lunchbox, ending this book.
I sip more tea and gaze into the bergamot.
I see her showing me where my grandfather is buried.
I see her holding my daughter’s hand at a waterfall
delivering hand-written notes to sick people in hospital beds
talking on the line to lonely people as a ‘telephone operator’
serving candied yams from a wide platter
hanging laundry in the sun
‘Don’t forget to write!’ I imagine her hollering, like Nancy Drew,
before she motors away from the final scene
always in cloud of dust on a sandy lane,
waving and honking from her little red roadster
always sweet and smart,
to the next Mystery.
It was my birthday yesterday and my husband went for a walk with me. It was sunny and a postcard of a spring day.
We walked a mile or so and stopped at a ball field to let our dog rest. She found a shady spot under the bleachers and I reclined on my back, taking in rays. My husband did the same on the asphalt below and he wondered out loud if the white birds overhead were gulls or herons. Our dog rearranged her head on her paws.
I have had this feeling before, I thought—of summer and afternoon and being with a few friends and with nothing to do but stare up at the sky and listen to the breeze. My husband once told me that when he was in boarding school he used to ride his bike into the local town and buy cans of soda—and then hide them in the creek where they would stay cold—then whenever he was out for a bike ride he could come and have one. I asked him if he would show me the spot the next time we were in that neck of the woods and he said ‘sure,’ just simply and like I imagine he would have if I had been his girl back then.
Diane Pohl is a poet whose prose poem, “When you were 9,” published by Paterson Literary Review, won an Allen Ginsberg Award. She is a former critical care nurse. Her interests include motherhood, gender equity, and health and wealth inequality. In the wintertime she can be found cold-water swimming off the elbow of Cape Cod and during the summer months jumping in a New Hampshire lake or lying in the grass somewhere admiring the stars.