Seniors & Aging

Edwina Norton poem: ‘Searching for My Sister’

Her visage wizened like a dried apple

granny doll — so much weight she’s lost.

Wrinkles carve her once younger rounded cheeks,

her pale blue eyes water now, enormous

in her sweet, diminished face.

She rests, tentative, on the edge of a straight-

backed chair, quiet, gazing down

at the small day book she holds firmly

in slightly trembling hands.

Carefully she contemplates its pages,

deciphers what she’s written there: names,

of friends who’ll visit soon, notes on pills and

debts, book due dates — obligations

crowded, jumbled — an out-of-order

legend of her days, though dated correctly.

Parsing patiently each scribbled entry — her brow

reveals no worry or frustration — she puzzles

meaning from her lists. She seems entirely content

to study them, one by one by one.

What, I wonder, does she perceive or understand?

Can she remember who or when or what

these crowded notes portend?

Slowly she turns each page — forward or back,

it doesn’t seem to matter — and examines each

as closely as she would a healing wound.

Her mild look reveals no agitation,

no unhappiness or stress.

She looks up now and sees me watching her: “What?”

she smiles, suddenly self-conscious. “What are you

thinking?” she murmurs — breaking my heart

with her sudden acuity. “Nothing,”

I say softly. “Nothing at all.”

Satisfied, she turns back dreamily

to her book, her daily life.

Hers is my question — and —

What mythic dance or melody

has carried her away?

“Noisy Water”

“Searching for My Sister” by Edwina Norton is included in “Noisy Water; Poetry from Whatcom County, Washington,” a new collection edited by Luther Allen and J.J. Kleinberg.

Public readings by some of the poets in the book will be held at 7 p.m. March 22 at Ferndale Library, 7 p.m. March 31 at Everson Library and 7 p.m. April 14 at Village Books.