Snapshots in Time is a poetry prompt that Susan Ahlbrand gave us in April. At the time, I wasn’t able to find the photo of my mom looking content and appearing to have it all in 1950–vogue style, trim waist, rugged husband, and four precocious kids in an L.A. suburb. A comment I left on the prompt was: “ I wanted to write a poem called ” When I ran across the photo recently, I decided to write that poem today. Feet, and how her feet didn’t handle those high heels for the long haul.
My Mom’s Feet
My mom’s style
She loved high heels
And rocked them for years
Pointed or open-toed,
Spectators, ankle straps.
Looking into fate’s eyes,
My sweet mama, whose fashion
Was foremost, saw her feet
Begin to fail her flair
Surgeries and treatments
Nailed hammer toes
Today would have been my mom’s 90th birthday. I have been thinking about her so much lately. I miss her a lot. She was loving, fun, and selfless.
Clockwise from upper left, 1988, 1949, 2006, today
My daughter wrote two sonnets about her grandma after we saw her for the last time:
I’d never seen my Grandma grey and worn.
This shrunken woman in the hospice bed
cannot be my grandma. My grandma lives alone
in Yucca Valley, hiking on the dirt roads with muddy furrows that sink like
the laugh lines on her cheeks. She conceals
wispy hair under immaculate wigs. Despite
sore hammer toes she works her sky-high heels. That day I hiked the furrowed roads alone,
adrift amidst waxy Creosote.
Stringy jackrabbits, baby quail gambol,
flitting through dry gulches like rowboats. Somehow I didn’t want to be inside
Spring Break two thousand ten, when Grandma died. ii
Spring Break two thousand ten, when Grandma died,
I arrived in time for bon voyage,
the convalescent odors scattered by
tamales, Spanish rice, tortillas, guac, and Grandma, a bit tipsy on boxed wine.
One last boisterous fiesta while the Reeds
were still a family, whole and feeling fine.
The jalapeño sweat displaced the needs that lay beneath the cornered hospice sheets.
The jalapeños were what got to me,
the smiles against those hospice whites.
The laugh of one you love is therapy with nebulizer and glass of sweet rosé.
I’d never seen my grandma worn and grey. By Maria Krebs
And one I wrote after she died.
Close to Me