Friday, September 30, 2011

September 30th (for Dad)

The park is shedding
its tree debris--
nuts and leaves,
twigs and seeds,
crunching under
our feet.

Sky keeps sweeping
the sun away
under its endless
tarp of gray.

But around the bend,
in a low swath
of grass, sea-lavender
crocus  stand—
so sweetening
Autumn’s big plans.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day Two Without You

Usually, when I am just about halfway
through my breakfast, you approach
the kitchen table, stop, look at me,
but before I can scoop you up and
set you in my lap, or offer you the
other chair, you scamp off toward
the living room—glance back,
scamp, glance, scamp.  This
is your not-so-subtle way
of telling me I have had ample
time with my bagel, and that I
should bring my coffee with me
to Mystie’s Coffee Shop, a section
of the living room, which boasts a
Tiffany blue square ceramic water
bowl, as well as a six by six inch flat
wood table, on which I can place my mug.
This area is conveniently located in front of
the stereo,  so I will remember to turn on your
favorite blues station.  It happens to be the place
where your kitty blanket and all your brushes are
stored, under the stereo cabinet. The weight of your
absence made the sunless thundering sky -- soaking
fallen leaves on the ground outside almost go unnoticed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big Trip to Ithaca

The Big Trip to Ithaca

We take Mystie to Cornell tomorrow for radioactive iodine treatment for her thyroid. I have told her the plan, over and over, but with our cat - human language barrier, I am not sure if I am making myself clear. It is unlike anything we have ever done together in the last fourteen years.  Yet, all day I told her: At 10:00 PM, we have to take your food bowl away.  She went right to it at 9:58 PM, then downstairs to bed.  Does she know she will be staying at Cornell for awhile, maybe a whole week, alone in a cage with only one other  cat in the room? The anticipation of this separation is sapping me like a bad cold on a dank day. But I must remind myself that if all goes well, it will be a cure! She should add some flesh back to her thin little frame, gain weight and live longer than she would otherwise. The vet assured me she will visit Mystie two or three times a day, that she’ll leave her with a radio on. I told her Mystie likes Jazz and Blues.  I forgot to tell her that she hates ads and news or too much commotion.) 
          We have already packed the GPS, the cat food, the X-rays, the medical records, our rain jackets and some kind of breakfast snack to make for a quick departure. I will hold her in the the cage in my lap for two hours, and reassure her, best as I can.  If she rubs her face against my reaching, needy fingers, I will know she is trying to reassure me too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Photo of Grandma

Photo of Grandma

Because it’s almost
the only photo I have
of her, my grandmother
is always holding a teacup,
always wearing a light colored
dress with a thin black belt, always
standing to the right of her larger
shadow and the shadow of a ladder-
back chair on the muted wallpaper.
Was she about to fill the teacup,
or put the teacup away?  She has
stopped to look at the camera,
with a smile that balances the
sadness in her eyes, as perfectly
as the porcelain cup in her hand.
I could always see my Dad and
three uncles in her face, but now
I can see my cousin Kim, too—
whom I once barely knew,
but now I call my own.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Say A Little Prayer

Say A Little Prayer

Sirens wailing past remind
me of our mother’s words—
Say a prayer for whomever
is in the back of that ambulance.
We were young, absorbed in our
playing, or riding in a car on the way
to the lake, or visiting cousins, or
somewhere fun, and she would call
our attention to suffering—it did not
matter whose suffering.  It mattered
that we had a relationship with God. 
Decades later, I still pause, at least
for a quick thought—a moment of
compassion for a stranger passing
by.  God bless whomever is on that
unplanned trip.  It might even be
their last ride.  There, but for the
grace of God. . . There, but for
timing . . .There, but for the fact
that it’s just not your turn yet—
goes someone in an ambulance,
lying alone, or lying next to a
frightened helpless loved one.
So say a little prayer now.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Before Dawn/Before Midnight

Before Dawn/Before Midnight
September 20th, 2011

Before dawn, my husband
leaves me with a beautiful
poem he has posted today
on his blog for all to see. 
It is our 8th anniversary,
which, sadly, he is spending
with co-workers in New York. 
Before dusk, he sends me
an invitation to dine with him
at Rooneys, our favorite high-
end restaurant, on Friday night.
Before this day ends, I have a little
surprise for him too—a DVD that
neither of us has ever seen, filmed
by John, my brother, on our wedding
day.  It’s now cued up, ready to play—
a recording of the vows we made to each
other, the words we wrote to give meaning
to our commitment to each other for that
which was to come, in a future we were yet
to see—a future with more happiness
than we could have imagined that day—
yet, looking back now from here—
there it is, brimming right out
of the screen—like a beacon—
so bright, so full, rich and bright.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Is This Time Travel Too?

The AC on the airplane is blowing
short stray hairs across my face,
triggering a memory of my Dad, asking
me to pull back my hair—when I leaned
over to kiss him goodbye those last days
we shared.  I feel bad he had to ask me
more than once.  It must have been
annoying.  Is this memory surfacing
here and now a form of time travel? 
Was there something else? 
Something beyond the surface of
that request that day back then?

The stewardess with blue eyes and
deep cheek dimples—is holding a phone
to her ear.  The tone of the plane is changing. 
Soon the descent will be announced, but will
take forever.  She is older, maybe my age, thin
and firm.  This triggers for me the one interview
I had with United Airlines—how I had to walk
back and forth, then turn around, as someone
looked me up and down.  I weighed 125 pounds
at five foot seven.  Not quite good enough.  I’m
glad I didn’t get that job, but wonder— if I had,
would I have learned to travel light, with ease?
Maybe I would have been laid-off, as so many
were--then what?  Leaving my questions
up in the air, I fasten my seat belt, anxious
for a smooth landing, my life on the ground.

(c) elaine heveron