Though seated, the woman in the photograph looks tall.
Wears a stylish hat tipped to one side,
a tailored black suit, a gash of white blouse.
She holds white gloves and a leather clutch,
aims her eyes a bit to the left, thinking private thoughts.
She is formidable, substantial, beautiful.
Never forget to moisturize, Nana told her first grandchild, me,
methodically stroking her pale white neck, the smell of camphor rising.
Shall we watch the Pirates together?
Who’s on Lawrence Welk this week?
She wore house coats at home, preferred quiet children.
Filled her apartment with totems: a box of buttons, a crucifix,
a portrait of her husband the Judge.
She fixed me egg salad sandwiches, cut off the crusts and,
don’t tell the grown-ups, admired JFK.
I could always escape to Nana. Until
we moved to the West Coast when I was nine. Until
her eldest, my dad, died at 42.
She came to visit, but only once a year.
She aged. I called. Not often.
A wedding gift arrived
and with it a note
written, oddly, on torn used envelopes.
She missed me, was proud of me, thought about me every day.
If only I had alerted to the warning behind that note.
I visited the nursing home, once.
But never did find time
to bundle up the new baby,
take an airplane to Pittsburgh,
place him in her arms
and say to her, here he is,
here’s your first great-grandson Nana.
Let’s take a picture.
Farley Egan Green lives and writes in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She graduated from Scripps College and is retired from a writing/communications career. She writes for the pleasure of working with words and sounds, to tell stories and, in some cases, to make sense of difficult experiences. Her poems have appeared in the Trestle Creek Review, Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, and elsewhere.