Hemming and Hawing

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Hemming and Hawing
for Louise C. Smith, d. May 21, 2011

She made so many things
in her life: curtains, jellies, cobblers,
the cranberry leisure suits for me, my brothers
and dad, infamous and immortalized

in the 1970s family portrait still hanging
in the deserted hallway, the newly empty house,
our ancestral and spectral home. But the last breath
she made has already left that place, gone

out the back door, through the glass
and screen, without the familiar bang of people coming
and going, made its way into the back pasture
with the cows and coyotes, the golden

bunchgrass her mother taught her to bind
into brooms for cleaning and making a home.
There, at the edge of the trees leading down to Lost Creek
the breath of her life pauses, hesitates,

almost takes shape, then turns and flows like a stream
toward the cool, wet dark where ripe mayhaws
float in red collects, pooled and bitter, but waiting
to be gathered in and made sweet.

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