2016-04-01

Tea time

Tea time, earlier today...
I was just reminded of this, because it is another poem from Memento...

Minnie and Violet are real great aunts...

Which is to say they were real once but sadly are not any more, because they did indeed die in childhood.  As they were the only two of a round dozen siblings not to make it into ripe old years, I had no shortage of great aunts and uncles to choose from when I was younger.

Historical note for overseas readers.  The "Pru" or Prudential is an insurance company and before the age of electronic banking, "The Man from the Pru" would come around collecting the premiums.

I have heard it said that 90% of poetry is about time, memory or love.

Two out of three ain't bad...








Tea time


Minnie and Violet address the camera directly;
they cannot say we who are about to die...
because they did not know. My mother speaks instead
from nineteen seventy-two, where
counting coinage for the Man from the Pru,
she pauses to explain: these would be your great aunts,
if not for Polio––


            as her mother once explained to her.
Today I stir the stranger's tea and offer biscuits.
He has to rush. I brush crumbs from the photograph.
Minnie is thinking about the existence problem: she exists
for the photographer, but can only guess at future eyes.
Grandma and she existed, once, for each other
but mother and I, spying on the moment
through the monochrome window, can only imagine.

Violet is thinking about the photographer's wig.



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