(art by Dennis Wojtkiewicz)
Who knows what I might find
on tables under the maple trees—
perhaps a saucer in Aunt Lois's china pattern
to replace the one I broke
the summer I was thirteen, and visiting
for a week. Never in all these years
have I thought of it without
a warm surge of embarrassment.
I'll go through the closets and cupboards
to find things for the auction.
I'll bake a peach pie for the food table,
and rolls for the supper,
Grandma Kenyon's recipe, which came down to me
along with her legs and her brooding disposition.
"Mrs. Kenyon," the doctor used to tell her,
you are simply killing yourself with work."
This she repeated often, with keen satisfaction.
She lived to be a hundred and three,
surviving all her children,
including the one so sickly at birth
that she had to carry him everywhere on a pillow
for the first four months. Father
suffered from a weak chest — bronchitis,
pneumonias, and pleurisy — and early on
books and music became his joy.
Surely these clothes are from another life—
not my own. I'll drop them off on the way
to town. I'm getting the peaches
today, so they'll be ripe by Saturday.
By Jane Kenyon, from Let Evening Come.