Roxbury, 1956

I saw her,  once,  when I was
so small the unpaved Connecticut road
seemed a highway of shimmering
suns.   My grandmotherís voice

introduced me to Hazel,  old
woman who lived there without
running water,  who peered at me
hard,  said Her eyes will go green.

Summer was just coming in,
Iím sure,  air warm enough
for windows to be wide,  and I
listened in my speechless shyness

where weeds tickled my grandmotherís
tires,  the skirt of my new-to-me
checked cotton thin dress.
She hauls the bucket for me

sometimes, and buys me groceries
I need
ómy ears catching
Hazelís words, my grandmotherís nodding
murmur, surprise.  And then the smooth

wheels on pebbles and sand,  sleek
convertible,  brilliant white top down:
blond hair in a silken scarf,
dark glasses,  hornís honk,  fingersí waveó

There she is now!   Going home to Mr.
. Hazelís voice , simply accepting,
and me wondering why my grandmother
whispered Marilyn,  stars in her eyes.


Copyright 2008,  Katharyn Howd Machan

Katharyn Howd Machan was born in Woodbury, Connecticut,  in 1952.   Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and textbooks, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature,  and in 30 collections, most recently Belly Words: Poems of Dance (Split Oak Press, 2009) and When Sheís Asked to Think of Colors (Palettes & Quills Press, 2009). A professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College in central New York, in 2002 she was named Tompkins Countyís first Poet Laureate.  "Roxbury, 1956" first appeared in The MacGuffin Reader,  Vol xxiv,  No. 2.

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