Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Unsightly veins protrude on her aging hands
fingers fly over the keys of Mac and Yeung Chang
write fast, play fast, the hands of time do not rest.

Memories surface
nostalgia turns to melancholy 
flashes of family picnics collide with broken dreams and birthday parties

Parents lost, friendships found
Cherished scents of freshly-mown grass and daffodils
whiffs of Grandma’s perfume and Aunt Lorraine’s gin
seems like a century ago.

Mother-daughter white-gloved treks to downtown department stores
where elevator operators discreetly whisper “Going up.”
Walking to our house from the bus stop, Anna, the cleaning lady, hoists her corpulent frame up the back steps.
“How’s my girl?” she smiles warmly.

Mom dancing in the living room with her friend
“Why is she always giggling when he comes to pick her up for work?”
Daddy asks her at dinner how her friend likes his new Mercedes convertible.
Mom sets down her martini and puffs her red-rimmed cigarette, silent.

Used to love cream of wheat and lemon meringue pie
the former, breakfast with Grandma
the latter, Thanksgiving, when Uncle Jack took a deep-coma nap after the meal.
We thought later that maybe he was trying to escape the Pacific trembles.

A rifle lay next to his body
a forever nap translates into a shattered son
a widow now sees the world through flashes of recognition
her face book photos welcome hundreds of “likes.”

Ribbons for “Best Speaker,” watches for “Best Salesman”
Daddy didn’t know her when he passed.
His baritone voice still tells her “You’re spinning your wheels.”
His slightly trembling fingers with protruding veins playing “Crazy” 
It haunts her decades later.

So many tears cried over Varsity boys and dashing frat men
“You will not marry before college graduation, and if you marry him, you will no longer be my daughter.”
More tears. He is gone now too.

Write fast, play fast.






1961