(NaPoWriMo Challenge: April 3, 2018)
I’m five and we’re all in a town called Roy,
a ghostly epicenter of the West.
I’m circling a grand old Mexican table
and have wedged two plastic dolls, cattywampus,
into the frames of a green and red leather chair.
My grandmother Katharine sits there,
the matriarch, her legs crossed, smoking, smiling
and playing gin.
She’s telling stories about Indian country and towheaded boys
shooting out street lamps with guns.
A decade later we’re in her city apartment
hovering over my education
in English Toffee, needlepoint and love letters.
I fail them all just like like Gigi with grand Aunt Alicia
although my lessons were Wild West instead of Paris.
Soon, it’s her funeral with the long dust train across the prairie.
She’s lying in the small Methodist church her grandfather built,
long fingered hands folded over her prestigious blue suit
with its large eagle pin.
Her presence is large. We are sprinkled with namesakes
like enduring salutes.
And whenever I’m asked if I was born to wealth
or have the inheritance of prospectors,
silver glamour borne straight from the well,
the magic charm of gold...
This one was really difficult. I have so many experiences to work with concerning my grandmother. It was hard to find that "one indicative scene" and I made three pages of notes this morning trying to locate her (and failed!). My grandparents could literally be their own book of poems.
These poems for NaPoWriMo were inspired by a poem I did years ago for my friend Michelle after hearing she passed away, 30 poems for inspiring women connected to me. The title now says "33 Women" because the poem to Michelle poem had already been written as well as two prologues I posted March 31. Some of their pictures are posted here: http://www.marymccray.com/33-women.html.