In October, my grandmother is taking a bus trip to Branson, Missouri with a few other women from her small town. Over a dinner of braised beef I shared with her the other night, she told me of the scheduled events that she was looking forward to, which included the hours-long trip with the other women.
"A bunch of widows talkin' about the good ole days - that's all it'll amount to," she said, wiping her glasses. "But you know what? I kind of enjoy that."
Since then, the idea for this poem has been on my mind, so I decided to give it some legs this afternoon. I imagine it will go something like this.
Along Route 24 in Kansas.
A cool October morning.
Light the color of a peacock’s plumes
skips off Perry Lake
and into the windows of a
silver vacation bus
eastbound for Branson.
Near the middle, gray-headed and gabby,
The power poles he used to climb
leap from sight on the right,
and the cars he used to drive
slide by on the left.
And now, bustling toward the Missouri line,
they are, one puts it,
taking the trip he’d always said they
Couldn’t afford the time,
There had always been trousers to iron
for the next day’s work,
too much to be done
at work and at home.
Even so, those days had been good ones,
the other says, because even with
the dishpans, vacuums, laundry, and meals,
there also had been always a man
to kiss goodbye each morning,
and always time to anticipate,
much like they do now,
a reunion with him
at the end of
Yes, the first says.
Yes, those were fine days.
And the creases
in the corners of her eyes
are not the only reminders.