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Entries in poetry (1)


On being far away

For Ollie


I sit here with my books and tea
while you are there, dying.

I have been so blessed
by encouragement in this late blooming
but especially yours.
You -- who stood with two other uniformed women in a sea of men,
Engineers at Harvard-MIT when it just wasn’t done --
were proud of me.

Which one are you in this picture, Ollie?
The TALL one! you say
from somewhere around my chest.
Are you getting good grades?  I knew you would.

You’ve stopped eating.
This week, I’ll take my car to the shop on Elmira Road.
The only thing I know about Elmira
is that you lived there long ago
with Chris, whom I also loved.
Maybe that’s where Paul was born,
in that eye-rolling story about “Oh you pregnant women always . . .”

Today your faithful Paul is driving to be with you.
I hope you wait for him.

Last month,
I couldn’t tell whether you heard me
But you gripped the hospital bed
With both hands tight in front of you,
Holding on.
I said, Wow, Ollie, are you going to make it
until I graduate?  I never thought.
But you have hung on until I was safe,
graduation in sight, employed.

You who --
bent and nearly blind and deaf --
and would!
shoo a bull from your corn
with a broom,
believed I could do this,
have seen me through.
When your words failed,
just grinning to see me.

Such a gift.

I will miss thee sorely, Friend.