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Excerpts and Examples

Requiem In Lace

She lies with eyes closed to the afternoon sun

a peaceful smile on her face

her hands rest upon the worn knitted spread

she’d fashioned to look just like lace.


I gaze at her fingers gnarled with time

and labors too many, too long.

Her gold wedding band, once heavy and wide,

is worn thin, and like her, almost gone.


She was just a child when she came to the West.

Her diary spoke volumes to me

of a mother dead early from birthing a son

and a sister who barely could see.


A sod one-room house opposed blizzard wind

that howled at the door, and her fear

small pox and snakebite, she dealt with them all,

with courage and many a tear.


A quiet man brought her to settle the ranch

she lovingly came to call home.

Four sons and a daughter fulfilled many dreams,

but her husband retreated to roam.


I was her very first grandchild to hold,

her namesake, she wrote on the page.

It seems I was headstrong and given to sass

but outgrew those notions with age.


She patched all my jeans as well as my knees

and a heartache or two by the way,

and gave me her locket for my something old

to wear on my wedding day.


This morning no coffee brews on the stove

no bread dough rises in pans.

The hardest to bear in this parting of ours

is the stillness of her gentle hands.


And just before dawn we say our good-byes,

my hands and hers in embrace,

on top of the worn, well-loved knitted spread

she’d fashioned to look just like lace.


At dawn she slips through bur oak to the chokecherry bush.

Yesterday’s heat dwells in draws, lies in mown hayfields.

From a precarious perch she leans toward the hanging fruit.

Nimble fingers, purpled by juice, strip small berries

into a bucket dangling from her arm. Bees buzz,

sip nectar from late summer flowers.


She casts a glance toward the grassy bottom of the ravine,

remembers a heat-filled afternoon, buckets of berries cast aside,

youth and desire reaping another harvest.


Tears and sweat mingle as she returns to her pickup,

gaze resting on the ranch house in the distance. By now

his nurse has cleaned and fed him, watching for recognition

that never comes. She hopes he’s calm today, wonders

if his vacant mind remembers the taste of chokecherries.


They hide among green leaves.

Drenched with dew, suspended,

the dark red delight promises jam or jelly,

a gentle slide down a slope of sherbet,

or marriage to shortcake and heavy cream.


Raspberries hold me hostage.

With crimson lips I plead my guilt.

I am a willing prisoner.

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