The Book!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Grandma McMillan




Grandma McMillan, who lived out the station road
Raised six daughters and a son through the depression
And, of a Wednesday in later life, her youngest came to visit,
My mother,

With a daughter and three sons.

She would walk with grandpa to the gate for welcome,
Though grandpa was unsure who we were,
There being so many.

And mama talked to grandma in the kitchen
While grandpa talked to us;
Made tea with canned milk on the Franklin stove
And spilt it
Rubbed whiskers and asked if he were handsome
Looked at us with eyes now cloudy, watery blue.

Grandma McMillan, big as a boulder and laughed a lot
Sideways,
And with her whole body,
Would be, in summer, somewhere in her garden
In a broad straw hat
Or at the kitchen table, anchoring house
While grandpa padded randomly into town.

And so I saw him time to time homeward from school
On a park bench, waiting for the train
And knew this old man, cane-gripped, had vaguely to do with me
And thought nothing; or nothing I could know.
He would not nod or smile as I walked by;
And his eyes were cloudy, watery blue.

And one day he was gone.

Grandma McMillan, whose wallpaper was ivy,
Called me to her room the day before the day before she died,
And said nothing.
We looked out window at the early spring
Squirrels nuzzling snow for breadcrumbs;
Too much snow and too few breadcrumbs, I thought.
And one uncanny robin.
We looked, then she told me to go.

And she was gone.

And her eyes, the last I saw her eyes,
Seemed like her dead husband's eyes. 
Cloudy, watery blue.
-- Stephen K. Roney


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