Old woman with one
eye cocked sideways to the past,
leather elbows working at the washtub, wringing sheets,
scrubbing dirt from a world nearing its expiration date,
the world that runs up the road to the
that hems in your body and a part of your soul,
but maybe no farther,
you visited Chicago in 1942,
when you were young, wearing a yellow dress with red flowers,
and spent the night with a man now forgotten
because of your scrubbing and wringing.
Your husband is in the ground
and your son ran away with a woman from Cincinnati.
I do not have your courage
to separate fact from fiction with such rubbing
of soil from white sheets, of the now from what might have been.
I just let it rain.
For me, memories linger longer than they probably should,
but you do not ask why the sun and moon
trade places as they are wont to do.
You walk to the mailbox daily
looking for a letter from Cincinnati
while your husband makes flowers
from the rich loam of his grave,
a sliver of hope that you save.