GREY

Grey’s the hair color you can’t buy.
I tried. I urged my hairdresser to
change my entire head.
“Not possible”, he said
“although new grandmothers
often ask.”
 
It’s good perhaps
some things remain
beyond our grasp
Time’s provenance
to bestow
If we’re so
blessed.
 
My grey hair
like my mom’s
lifts from my brow
on just one side.
I’ve left it pale since
the February day
she died.

SHALIMAR

My mother's scent was hers alone
familiar from the start just like my own.
Shalimar and lipstick
salt air and steam irons
biege powder dusting her dressing table,
scattered sweaters, a turquoise negligee.

Once, invited to the Waldorf
for a DuPont dinner,
she spent a fortune on a formal dress.
Arrived in lace and pick satin
to face women clad in cocktail clothes.
Edna, ever the Indiana girl.
How many Manhattans did it take to kill 
those feelings?

After her death,
I asked Sister Jose Hobday
“Will I ever smell that scent again -
touch her soft white hair?”
So much of me left with her
I am my mother’s child.

Peaceful in all worlds,
Sister Hobday laid
her hand on mine
and smiled.

BOB’S ADVERB

Who named the adverb bastard child?
Is this because it fails to stand alone,
leans always on another
for meaning
so much like us
at our worst (and best)
we shun them?

In the time when fans spoke quietly
before the days of scream and riot,
we stood with Dylan after a concert
behind the Mosque in Newark.
We talked, shared wine, laughter.
He and Suze invited us to party in the city.
We declined, I had a curfew.

The next year in that same spot,
a mob ran past us. A fan returned
hand in air, shouting “I’ve got his hair!”
So ended gentleness. It’s clear why
Dylan sometimes plays –
his back to the audience.

Adverbs in my mind describe how
translucent Dylan’s skin
bright Suze’s smile
tiny their Volkswagen
high that fan held her cruel hand.

CHORES

When the Winken Blinken days were gone,
defiance became my middle name.
Dad and I met only over floor tile and paint –
chores well done.

We’d visit the lumber yard, select
pine to fashion Adirondack chairs
to grace the deck, unaffected
by wind and rain.

Rising early, the bay quiet, we’d share coffee
from a pot that sat – stacked silver orbs –
on the counter – and discuss our day’s
plans, make notes.

I’m an ecstatic sander – a lover of latex.
All my life – one gallon at a time
I paint my way back
to my father’s heart.

FOXCROSS FARM

When I think of the farm
it’s the stone bridge and country
road curving by the low barn.
It’s Tony’s tomatoes, white peacocks.

When I think of the farm, I see pine
trees, green pastures, the
bramble roses by the creek
sheep standing in the field.

When I think of the farm
I watch women spinning wool
the whir of wheels descant to
soft voices and gentle laughter.

When I think of the farm, I see
Airedales, Romney sheep,
a rabbit and Rhode Island Reds,
a well-fed Peaceable Kingdom.

I do not think of the ground
we walked last night when
one of their flock went missing
fearing death had stalked a lamb.

When I think of the farm
I don’t see Anthony striding the fields
Julie peering into corner and cranny
in tense, sweaty anxiety.

Death’s but a hair’s breadth
away each day. It makes
sweet our brief walk through time
I don’t think of that.