Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Jessie and Lee"

By Cecele Kraus

Grandmother Jessie brushes her hair
late at night in her rocking chair as
the woodstove crackles out its warmth.
Grandpapa Lee looks up from his book
and with twinkling eyes returns her smile.
They’ve been married for 55 years.

Jessie’s hair was nut brown in early years
while Lee was blessed with wild Irish hair.
Though eyes are dim, he lights her smile,
no need to even move his chair.
The Holy Bible is Lee’s only book,
the red hot stove their source of warmth.

Eight children settled into their warmth.
Young Anna died, the rest are up in years.
The Holy Bible is not their only book.
Faded auburn is now Lee’s hair.
His chair is straight, hers a rocking chair.
Neighbors drop in and bring a smile.

A letter came and brought a smile.
Their son returns, hearts fill with warmth.
For prodigal Tom, we’ll pull up a chair,
he’s traveled far for so many years.
Joyful, Jessie forgets to knot her hair
and Lee forgets the Holy Book.

Jessie pulls out a ragged photo book
of all their children; it makes them smile.
Forgetting the brushing of her hair,
she’s lost in reveries of children’s warmth.
Gone the pain of Tom’s wandering years,
she sees the past from her rocking chair.

Children’s songs heard from her rocking chair,
each face captured in her photo book.
Gone the pain of the longing years,
returned to her each child’s gapped smile.
By the fire, she glows in warmth
and now with a smile loops up her hair.

Cecele Kraus, a psychotherapist, lives in Copake, New York. She is working on a collection of poems and short fiction.

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