The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Wednesday and Aunt Shirley

Red Wand
By Sandra Simonds

Sometimes I try to make poetry but mostly
    I try to earn a living. There's something still living
 in every urn, I am sure of it. The ash moves
       around inside the vase like the magnetic filings that make
the moustache of Wooly Willy. Maybe a new face counts
      as reincarnation. The wand says, "I'll be your ostrich,
 if you'll be my swan." In this life, what did I do wrong?
I think my heart is a magnet too. It attracts anything
 that attracts joy like the summer grasses the swans track through.
       OMG, how in love I am with joy and with yours—how I know
that adding to it would only take it further off course,
      off its precarious center, so for once, I won't touch it.
 I will stand wand-length away—let it
    glide stupidly on its weightless line, without me.


I did not have a celebratory May Day. Aunt Shirley, wife of my Grandpa Herman's brother Paul, died during the night. We had known that she wouldn't live long when we all went to see her last weekend -- we wanted to make sure Daniel visited while he was here -- but we are all very sad and remembering many years of visiting, debating politics and talking books with her (as everyone reading this will appreciate, she was the first person who ever told me to read Pride and Prejudice).

Paul made us a Beltane meal anyway -- eggs benedict, hash browns, Cadbury eggs which are appropriate for any spring holiday -- and we watched Glee and Sunday's Once Upon a Time, though I was only half paying attention, we were talking to kids and Paul's parents, and the only thing that really caught my eye was Kurt doing The Boy From Oz (very well from what I saw).

This is my father's family circa 1974, minus myself and my sister and cousins -- my Uncle Paul, Aunt Shirley, Grandma Sylvia, Dad, Mom, and Grandpa Herman, with my dad's brother Mickey and his then-wife Carol kneeling in front. This is pretty much how I always remember Shirley looking, even decades later, though I must admit that it is hard to decide who in this photo deserves the award for Most Quintessentially Horrible '70s Clothing.

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