Dogs 2007

MORNINGS WITH GRANDMA
(6/19/07)


her day
begins
at 7am
to the rooster's crow
of a talking clock
next to
her bed

she's
a 93 year old
farm girl
legally blind
so it's the only
way
to go

there's another
talking clock
(sans fowl)
in the kitchen
as well as
a grandfather clock
and several other
chiming
timing devices
throughout the house

the sounds
are her sign posts
guiding her about
the rooms
all crowded
with antiques

the rooster
however
is the killer
even upstairs
the crowing seems
to emanate
from somewhere
in my mind's
middle

technically
I'm on vacation
but then technically
back on the farm
7am
would have been
the beginning
of a lazy day
indeed

I hear her
walking
down the hall
feeling her way
to the kitchen
to start
the morning
coffee

I know
that she'll be
waiting there
at the table
so I get up
shower
dress
and ease
down
the stairs

I get in
the first
words

"good morning
Grandma"

and then
the conversation
is hers

she has
an amazing memory
spanning now
across seven
generations
not forgetting
relatives
even
three times
removed

she tells me
that my great uncle
will be 99
in July
and that he's
the only one
in the family
older
than her

as long
as he's
still alive
she thinks
that she still
has plenty
of time left

amazing
considering
the likelihood
of her next breath
being her last
increases exponentially
with each
passing day

she tells me
stories
about her childhood
her nursing career
her surgeries
her aches
and pains
laughing
all the while

blind
minus a breast
due to cancer
an ileostomy bag
providing relief
in place
of a removed
cancerous colon
and a knee
that will hardly
carry her weight
any longer
she mentions
these things
only
in passing
without complaint

still a nurse
she worries more
about suffering neighbors
with minor ailments
than her own
decrepit state

the last morning
of my stay
is always
a bit sad
and I'm already
thinking of her
the day after
with only the cat
for company

but I know
that a blind
ancient woman
living alone
does so
with plenty of help
from her farm town
neighbors

one
a retired mailman
she remembers
from the day
of his birth
and he stops by
daily
to check
on the little things
like the plumbing
the bills
her medication
her pulse

every time
that I leave
to return south
I wonder if
it will be
the last
such visit
that I
will make

but
when each
February
rolls around
I'm back again
to help her celebrate
another birthday

and
wondering
what to give her
the next
year