Thursday, October 23, 2014
The Wall of Time ( in memory of my mother and father-in-love)
They are sitting on black and white
stairs made of ordinary cold cement,
their faces turned towards each other.
Her bare legs in shorts are a dancers
and a scarf only partly hides pin-curled hair.
His pompadour turns up as does his mouth.
They are in love and it is 1951.
Fifty years have passed since that day
that hangs with other years in the hall.
The creak of the floorboards calls out the change
in the way they walk in the morning,
changing, changing from nylon stockings to slippers,
work shoes to sensible, eager to tired.
They wear it with pride.
They wear it with contrition.
The basement echo saddens this listener
knowing time gives and takes,
and holds love accountable for each gruff word,
each wild embrace, every I’m sorry.
The skin grieves, cringes and curls,
and they weave lotion into what might seem harsh
until softness sits with them into the evening,
watching the flickering living room walls
lit by television and the steady rise and fall
of falling asleep early.
On her way to turning down the sheets
she touches his hair and says, “come now”
as he smiles into a dream
and she straightens his black tie on the wall
on their 50th anniversary,
knowing it is more than the walls breathing
that makes a picture crooked,
and much more that straightens it.