Appearances always mattered to her,

and no wonder, for hers was stunning:

that auburn hair, round arms, her hazel eyes.

When she was young,

they called her “Gams”

and she kept those legs until she died.


She never understood

ragged jeans and shaggy hair,

flowers painted on the ceiling.

I never understood

matching handbags and shoes.

What she saw, I could not see.


She could turn collars and make

perfect bound buttonholes.

I pay someone to fix my broken zippers.

She filed receipts in labeled folders.

I throw away unopened mail.

In fact, there’s much I do not keep.


But there are things I do—

hymns she taught me to hold the thunder at bay,

names of wildflowers, names of sparrows.

Scent of bread and baked potatoes.

Grimm fairy tales, unexpurgated,

and words like the one I just used.

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