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among the first to disappear     my new patent purse     sister’s silk stockings
plates, forks, a sack of potatoes     damp handkerchiefs     waiting to be ironed

there’s another family     living here, confided grandma     another family
on the porch
      mother found her one day pitching     clothespins down

the old unused outhouse     in our garage     did she mistake our shadows
for someone else     did we weave in/ out     threads in a tatting shuttle

for that kind of losing     there is no map     water evaporates from the land
it’s gone     you don’t know where, even though     you saw the haze

one day, mother, father came home from work     found her     matches in hand
ready to cook pancakes     tree branches piled up     on the gasoline stove

they packed her things     at the nursing home     she rocked in her bed
chanted mantras at     cracks in the ceiling     once she turned, pointed at me

how are your potatoes today      and at my silence, to scream     those potatoes
those potatoes there     at the end of your legs      can’t you see them

on the farm, Grandma used to tell stories     of her past     plain threaded, yet rich
handmade quilts     one time, herding cattle     I was caught in a flood

my brother raced down the canyon wall     grabbed me on his horse     saved me
that day, I truly knew he loved me     I dreamt of saving her, too    would go to visit

wait for her to wake up     to see the stallion hidden     in the palm of my hand
not wanting to realize     she had already been     swept out into the water

 


Margaret Walther is a retired librarian from the Denver metro area and a past president of Columbine Poets, an organization to promote poetry in Colorado.  She has been a guest editor for Buffalo Bones, and has poems published or forthcoming in many journals, including Connecticut Review, anderbo.com, Quarterly West, Naugatuck River Review, Fugue, The Anemone Sidecar, Chickenpinata, and Nimrod. She won the Many Mountains Moving 2009 Poetry Contest.  Two of her poems published in the online journal In Posse Review in 2010 were selected by Web del Sol for its e-SCENE best of the Literary Journals.

© 2010, Margaret Walther

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