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The Poem MAG
I found the poem in my grandmother's old glove box, anicely crafted oak thing made for those long, satin opera gloves no one has wornfor at least 40 years. It was among her jewelry, recipe cards, hearing-aidbatteries, report cards, wedding, funeral and party invitations, and restaurantmenus. There were also tons of photographs, some black and white with squintingpeople standing, unsmiling, in front of white houses; others were in color, of achild dressed in bright, formal clothes or a couple smiling, one person behindthe other, with "Olan Mills" written in curvy gold letters on thebottom right corner.
The page was old, yellowed and dry, like her skin hadbeen. It was on notebook paper, only slightly different from the paper I used formy notes in medical school.
I unfolded it and the years fell away toreveal the smooth and simple core:
June 17, 1931
We were happy,scared kids
Just yesterday at noon
We weren't so sure about this
Til wecame into this room
You didn't look fifteen last night
When you slipped offthat dress
Your eyes were big with fright
But green and glowingnonetheless
I knew I loved you when we first kissed
I alwaysthought I'd be with you
But how could I know it'd be like this?
Last nightI thought I'd tear in two
Your touch was like a feather on my skin
Like achick being born in my hands
No, you didn't look fifteen then
You were awoman and I was a man
So I hope that you weren't hurt
Or frightened in anyway
For me, last night was all a blur
And you're the best part oftoday.
I had never known my grandfather. He'd died in the war, and mygrandmother never spoke of him. I knew they were young when they got married, but15 ... I had known they loved one another, but "Your touch was like afeather on my skin ... "
I had been close to her. I had held her inmy arms when I explained that a divorce was the best thing for me, assuming itwas old age that made her sob like a child. What had she repeated over and over?"What you've missed, child, what you've missed ..." I had seen thepictures, heard the stories, typed her obituary.
And I had known nothing.