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I’ve decided to separate my poetry from my blog for learning about technology.   Hey, I work as a librarian; I categorize things for a living!

Anyway, this poem is a reflection I made about two of my great aunts about a dozen years ago.  While they aren’t physically alive anymore, my memories of them certainly are.

I welcome constructive feedback.

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Kinship Shows

Kathy and Eleanor sit
                daintily
on the sofa.
Their        interacting,
                polite arguing,
                being individuals,
somehow point up the similarities:
                beauty shop hair
                ironed print dresses
                inflections of their voices
                shared blindness.

A gentle breeze and the summer heat
encircle them
and the stories I know.

Their Scottish father came to this coal region–
doing the same work he’d always done–
But in America, work echoing
                promise and plenty.
Kathy cared for him until he died at 96
in Smithton
a coal and beer town on the Youghigheny,
where she lived a genteel life.
Yet not.

She and a different sister–Agnes–
married brothers, those Stolting boys.
In the 1930s and 40s,
in that rural Pennsylvania backwater,
Kathy’s husband Carl and Eleanor’s Frank ran a tavern.
But Carl chose
                perhaps not only religiously
to be a minister.
From a barman’s to a minister’s wife–
perhaps that’s why she takes so much
                in stride.
Till 94 she lived in Smithton
fortified by the brewery’s fumes.
But now,
because her blindness scares him,
her son Roy cares for her.
At 98, in Texas,
she is remote
from home and family.

Rooted still in her rural home
Eleanor is surrounded
by fruit trees and family.
Even blind she bakes
                pies
                cakes
                cobblers
as she always has.
The baby in her family at 93,
she spends her days with daughter Doris Ann
and the extensive generations
who all live nearby.
While she traveled with her husband Frank
to remote places in Europe,
she always remained grounded
                not far from where she was born
                in her spot in the Laurel highlands.
She looks so much like her mother
who died when Eleanor was just a girl.

As they click their teeth
and dispense firmly loving hugs,
I see them
                now, but then too,
as the younger women they once were.
I imagine my grandmother Agnes on the couch there too–
a woman I never knew–
between them

in age, appearance, views–
The lovely Robertson girls
                still
ready to take their town by storm.

Copyright (c) Lydia A. Schultz

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