It’s been four months, too long, since we’ve published a poem by Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard, a WVFC contributing writer and author and resident
scholar at Brandeis University’s Women’s Studies Research Center.

Bouvard is currently working on a book, "Mothers in All But Name," about grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends and strangers who have acted as mothers. In the poem published here, she shares the story of a special great-grandmother in London. "Maud" begins after the jump.

* * * * *

Maud

As if you knew it would be the last

time, the stories of your early childhood poured out:

how 3 brothers and 3 sisters shared

one bed by sleeping in different directions,

the small pleasures of a rare meat stew,

a day without chores, a ramble along

the Northern coast. You had just turned

90, presiding over the tidy kingdom

of your council flat, the curtains

you sewed despite your fading

eyesight, photos of your great-grandchildren

illuminating the mantel, your garden

of plants on the miniature terrace

and that note you taped on the fridge,

"Just do it!" before that slogan

became popular. My buoyant 6-year-old

granddaughter, your great-granddaughter,

sat close beside you as she listened

while you recounted your world

in the high pitched tone of the deaf.

Later we took photos of the two of you,

your arm encircling her. Months after you died,

my granddaughter announced,

"great-gran can see and hear now,"

with that deeper knowing you passed down.

Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard

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