From the cot at the nursing home,

                                                she looks at me this time with recognition,

                                                & for a second, we touch,

                                                knowing it’s time to cross the bridge.


                                                I glimpse her as a girl again—


                                                black high-buttoned shoes

                                                to the quick lean strumming of banjo.

                                                She twirls—

                                                braids propelling

                                                around & around,

                                                hair clips glinting sunlight,

                                                ankle-length skirt

                                                ballooning colors.


                                                Loose-skinned, blue-veined

                                                hand soft against my arm,

                                                she tells of the time

                                                she ate taters & soup beans

                                                with Eleanor Roosevelt;

                                                of the night she danced with diamonds

                                                on a coal miner’s hand;

                                                of the son who lived

                                                & of  the son who died.


                                                Trust floats us up

                                                beyond plastic dinner trays,

                                                stale green walls.