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For Rose Albert

Ellen S. Jaffe
From:   Intricate Countries: Women Poets from Earth to Sky. Dundas, Ontario: Artemis Enterprises, 1996.


              (June 26, 1895 -- May 19, 1988)
              "Go, lovely Rose" -- Edmund Waller

Bloom of my childhood
Grandmother
Today everything bursts into flower
Green, pink, white
while you wilt softly
in hospital nursery
glass and tubes around you.

Rose, bloom of my childhood
Dressing up in your clothes,
your high-heeled shoes
(on my last visit, I
peeked in your drawer
like a curious child,
found nests of gloves
white and black, neatly folded
waiting for occasions . . .
a lady is never without decorum).

We came to your 90th birthday party
You came to my 43rd,
a surprise planned by my son
You wore a paper hat
over your newly-done hair
elegant -- as always.

I remember
               your rose-painted nails
               and nestling in your feathery bed
               when I slept over
You gave me
       canteloupe and ice-cream
       balloons and kisses
You were never old to me
                                         (even now
                                                         even now)
and I am not really grown-up, it is all an act
still dressing up in your clothes,
putting on plays.

Rose, bloom of my childhood
your light goes out
your scent
             will remain
in our hearts.


Ellen S. Jaffe's works copyright © to the author.


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