In March, Hatsy McGraw reflected on generational replication in her lovely poem “Polishing Silver.”  It was clear then that, for her, family matters are matters of affection and respect.  Here we have another of her carefully drawn, beautifully colored canvases—of a person, a moment, and a particular landscape of growing old.

 

Monday Lunch at Skipper’s

She waited
in her collapsible chair
while others, scheduled before her,
were ushered in by cheerful nurses
using familiar names
of people they didn’t know.
Then doctors prodded,
interns questioned,
her son looked on as
she repeated details
of her illness, listened
to the ins and outs
of the gamma knife,
of what might come next,
of the precise procedure
that would leave only
imprecise results. She kept
her purse tucked in her lap,
made small talk, twisted her gold
necklace with shaky hands,
smoothed her new cotton shirt
swirled with oranges and reds,
a tiny sparkle here and there.
………………………………………..

In the parking lot as others
made plans, she announced
her intention—lunch outside
by Long Island Sound.
They drove there, her chair
flattened in the trunk. She knew
which place to choose, the one
with the ramp, picnic tables
up front, the best seafood salad.
They split an order of onion rings,
greasy but good, a treat, each
crisp circle folded in half, dipped
in a pleated paper cup of ketchup.

Afternoon breezes cracked
the canvas awning above their table,
Amtrak trains raced by en route
to New York, Boston. Sail boats
off Black Point slipped and tacked
close to shore. In the distance,
clouds formed. She was reminded
how quickly the sea weather changes,
how just recently the sky was bright,
but now, over the Sound, great
grey billows grew
in irregular shapes and patterns,
thickening and darkening
in ways not even the best
weatherman could predict.
……………………………………..Published with the poet’s permission.

 

Hattie McGrawHatsy McGraw has published poems in several journals, including Bloodroot, Hanging Loose, The Salon, and Across Borders. Two of her poems appeared in the anthology Birchsong: Poetry Centered in Vermont.  Her poem “Neighbors in the North End” won the Robert Penn Warren Prize for free verse in 2004. A graduate of Vermont College’s Writing for Children/ YA program, Hatsy lives with her husband, painter Tom McGraw, and their two cats in Hartland, Vermont.

 

 

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