Maps to Where She’s Been

April is National Poetry Month!  My mind seemed to have forgotten by not my fingers.  I’ve been producing a lot of poems lately.  I thought I’d share!

Maps to Where She’s Been

She fears the murky places in her memory,
Places she can no longer go.
Ancient cartographers would have simply scrawled
“There be dragons” and then been done
Because they had no way of knowing.
The same with her memories,

The so much knowledge used to exist but is now as if it never did,
Yet, as she still can, she draws me maps
Telling me where 90 years worth of town is and used to be.
Her hands – maps of their own blue byways intersecting

Swollen knuckles showing the topography of mountains-
Draw for me as names of roads cross at 90 degree angles
Straight lines for streets, sweeping circles for the park
A line for the river, but more expansive
Falling off the table and across the room
Expanding from her rib cage.
What used to be
Men’s club where the ladies club needed permission to be,
Small downtown cinemas,

Grandmother’s house full of eleven children
On the other side of town by their church,
Orchard street, where they used to sled down the street…
All of this is drawn out for me across her kitchen table
A whole city laid over newsprint.

map.jpeg

She remembers contrasts: her slow deliberate father and her fast and productive mother
Her small grandmother and her large second husband
Her great granddaughters, one observing cautiously with wide eyes
One wild and careless.
I hope to remember that way last
The stark black and white, the place where street intersect at right sharp angles
The swirls of the parks and the lines of the roads
The loves and the losses
Peoples warmth and their cruelty
I need nothing more than that.

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