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
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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?
“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.