Memory

A stack of letters bound by ribbon
Flower petal soft and old
And a box of sepia photographs
Of people she doesn’t know

But I’m supposed to keep them
Safe from mold and decay
Preserved for posterity
Instead of thrown away

Eggshell frail and delicate
Memories peculiarly her own
When one generation passes
Like a wisp of smoke, they’re gone

*As I clear out old photos and keepsakes that my mother has been carrying with her from place to place, I realize how very disconnected we can be from the generations of family who preceded us. My mom has photos of family members we don’t recognize and letters from my Grandmother’s cousins from Scotland. We’re trying to organize it in such a way as to keep as much as possible. Maybe someday I will research our family tree and these would be nice to have to match up with the names. Meanwhile, I’ve been taking photos of some of these old documents with my phones just to preserve them. And all the myriad slides are being converted to digital format so my entire childhood isn’t lost or impossible to view. I spent a good part of my day yesterday wandering down memory lane.

Inevitable

She’s a hollow reed
Dried and brittle at season’s end
Bent by the winds
Stripped by the storm
Bowing to the earth
In graceful submission

What else can you do?
But face the inevitable
With quiet contemplation
Serenity and acceptance
Fulfilling a purpose, knowing
That this was all there ever was

[Painting my own.]

Adulting

Lights, camera, action

Part-time jobs and full time classes

The cheap apartments

Shared by three or more

Shabby sofas, drafty windows

Stuffed with yesterday’s news

But nobody noticed or nobody cared

When we were young

And full of exuberance

Dancing, spinning

Performing for each other

In our too cool, thrift store clothes

Saved our cash for the hair salon

And army surplus boots

Looking for the next thrill

In late nights and lazy mornings

Each one a version of the other

Playing on repeat

Running around in circles

Like the records on the turntable

Everyone’s a player

And the beat goes on

A mass of undulating bodies

Like a murmuration of starlings

Moving almost as one

It’s joy of life unbounded

Until the break of dawn

But youth is nimble and fleet footed

And time is cruel but fair

Shows no pity for the partygoers

Burning the candle at both ends

As the house lights come up

Show those tiny lines and wrinkles

It’s last call once and for all

Grow up baby, morning’s here…

*Galway is a city full of students, just beginning their journeys, finding their way. They’re so full of life and free of care … at least on the surface. Oh, to be young again without the burdens and responsibilities that adulthood places upon us. Carpe diem! Seize the day! The time goes quickly and you never get it back.