—for Harriet O'Brien
She fixes her bobby pin – fixes it
into her whitened hair
as we marvel at the height
of her wedding day
hair, how she must have
rolled and then slipped
pin after pin,
row upon row, then
smoothed set locks to a sheen with satin
gloved hands, to form
the waves just so.
She tucks her hands – tucks them
into her lap, warm and wise
with all they’ve known and done.
Hands that typed the letters that sent
men to war. Pointed pens
to the lines that needed to be signed
to build, to buy, to learn.
Hands that packed for seaside
getaways all A-lines and bows and
platform peep-toes. Polished
her skates for winter lakes.
Hands that knit cables and popcorn
stiches into Irish sweaters. Sewed
tiny clothes for her grand babies’
Hands that rolled cabbage into
Golumpki. Tossed the cards to win
the trick. Pulled her love
to the dancefloor for just
one more polka.
©2020 by Carolyne Meehan