In Texas

I live a double life.

My right leg stands in a state
With four seasons and my eye towards the future,
While my left foot dips in another,
Searching for remnants of
Pastures and two-lane roads.
And, each time I return,
To one home or the other,
I am torn.

I sat at the lunch table.
My daughter on my left; my grandmother on my right.
One spoke in sing-song silliness,
The other spoke in running commentary
Of my history.

In my chest,
There was a stirring
Of emotions.

I looked around and saw
That I would be the only one
To cry.
So I willed my eyes dry.
And, I swallowed, hard, my gulp of tea.
I listened, instead,

To my grandmother’s stories as they rolled off her tongue.
Her thin lips formed each detail
With confidence and accuracy.
Her voice never wavered.
Her eyes twinkled when she spoke
Of mischief
And narrowed when the subject grew dark.

No one questioned her faith.
In fact, I wondered if I, too,
Could send away the Devil
With one loud rebuke,
“In the name of God!”

For five or six hours
She sat in the same chair,
Cushioned with a leather pillow,
As listeners cycled.
She leaned in with gossip.
She leaned over with advice.
She leaned back with a smile.

I burned her image into my mind.
I tried hard to memorize her words,
So I could repeat them,
In years to come,

To my daughter,
Who won’t remember
The moment at the lunch table
With Nanny
In Texas.

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4 responses to “In Texas

  1. You’ve written a wonderful picture. And as one who has no grandmothers left, you made me jealous and sad. Thank you for sharing this tribute.

    • Thank you for the compliment. Women in relationships, as a theme, shows up in my stories often. And, I can’t write enough about the physical and spiritual connection between generations of women.

  2. Thank you, Christi. I can see and feel that being torn between two homes, and the desire to maintain that connection – the stories.

    Thank you for sharing this poem 🙂

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