Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fugue for An Aging Grandmother

I’ve been meaning to paint you for years,
pictures stored on my phone from visits
at Christmas and weekends when the Texas
cousins visit. Your hair is more wisp than
fall now, and pixel’s impressionism can’t catch
the aura I haven’t mastered with a brush
yet either. Or how the skin of your hands
grew softer; 15 years ago you were taking
mine to cross streets. Now you don’t
remember my name but I still love the
weight of them. A body holds on too long,
but the mind in fugue is the loss. Where
do you remain in there? Musical interludes.
The burst of grapes eaten one. After another.
After the other. You haven’t known me in years
But I’ve known your smell from the beginning.
The remain of which, the refrain of which,
pulls me away from the slip of linseed and oil.
Maybe I’ll just grasp your fingers a little longer.
Put the brush away until I’ve memorized you.
Take one more picture. One more December.
One more canvas holding only the curve of a face.

Though, it wasn’t your body I was trying
to capture in the first place.  

© Sarah Fletcher, 2014

Grandmother of migratory family with sick baby
on Arizona Highway 87, south of Chandler
Photo from National Archives and Records Administration
via Wikimedia Commons

1 comment:

jean said...

I am in awe of this poem. The ending is a gift! Good job!