Two Poems

Growing Old

She was suppose to grow up
grow old,
take her memories with her
her dolls, her diaries
her books,
old uniforms,
they lay in boxes
in the attic
Her mother can’t do it,
can’t open them
relive them
not without her,
their meaning too much
to bear
too much to lose.
In the end
her mother will be known as
the old lady
who kept everything,
the one whose house
had to be emptied
years later.
What they found:
dolls with faded faces
books of wilted words
tennis shoes
a doll house.
A dumpster was needed


May 15

She sat on the couch with her daughter,
in front of the three large windows
of the living room
in the house where her four children grew up,
the house she and her husband bought
thirty-two years before.
Small details.
She sat on the left side of the couch
her daughter on the right
an empty cushion between
both draped an arm across the back of the sofa
their fingers almost touched,
blue and green flowered fabric cool against her skin,
the tilt of her daughter’s head as they gazed out the closed windows
the four o’clock sky,
the quiet of the moment.

—Kris Nestingen-Palm, Waukesha, WI