7. Lyre

She talked despite her failing voice,

Pausing often, to take a drink,

While the potato peels fell as we worked

Into piles, curling in the sink

 

I listened closely and watched her face,

A map of valleys and vein-lined stone,

Weathered from sorrows and joys of life;

Her eyes stood like soft pools – alone

 

Her hands moved shakily, as did her voice,

As she told me of a glimmering, faded past;

She shook her head sadly, thinking of times,

And old, dusty dreams never revisited

And long-gone people from days that didn’t last

 

I could feel her pain, after forty years,

Of the three-year-old daughter she lost,

And the dulled happiness her son brought

In his life she loved him, and was contented,

But she cried over opportunities he lost

                                                                                          

She peeled more slowly now, and spoke less,

Disappearing within herself, her mind

And her outlines seemed to fade away

As she lost herself in the past, in her youth

And she drew back into her passed memories;

Her colors grew translucent and gray

 

She came back, though, as she always did

And began to recount the War;

She remembered patriotism, she said,

“Not like all of our cowardice, now,”

And I felt her grow cold, and sore

 

But she softened again, talking of later years,

As we began cutting the potatoes into cubes

And she told me of her nursing years,

As we poured them slowly into the soup

 

She smiled as she recalled her wedding,

Her first house her husband built

And all of the children she dreamed to have

As she washed and dusted her hands

And she glowed as she said, “Thank you,

For listening to your old great-aunt.”

  

I smiled softly, and said nothing,

But she understood, anyway

And I knew deep down I would, too

Run to the past, some day

The End

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