Showing posts with label Clayton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clayton. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Grandma's Picnic Table

Paint peeling, wood splitting,
flies swarming her trailer, sweltering heat
in that clay and lime town—

but, oh! the tart and bubbling rhubarb crisp,
the spicy-sweet hot mustard,
the savory scent
of the best, the best, fried chicken
any of us had ever eaten.

Poor—and rich—
all the difference
in the crinkle-cut corner
of her laugh-rippled eyes.

© 2016 Jennifer Wagner

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Grandma, Mickey and Me

“It forks in and out a little like the tongue   
Of that frightened garter snake we caught   
At Cloverfield, you and me, Jenny   
So long ago.”  -- To the Muse, JAMES WRIGHT

Grandma killed many snakes
in her yard by the tavern
when she had to.

She could do anything
and she wasn’t afraid
of anything.
Or maybe she was
afraid of everything
and she’d just done
what she’d had to do.

She wore a cowgirl hat
with a feather roach clip
and earrings with sayings on them
like, “No” and “Well, maybe.”
She wore tight animal print pants,
read The National Enquirer
and swore the pig-boy was real.

Her little trailer sat
just off the road
and we would stay the night
with her when we were young
and play board and card games
and watch TV.

She would sneak over to the
tavern and bring us special treats
like fried tater tots
with ham and cheese inside.

I’d get to sleep
with Grandma
in her “big” bed
and my cousin would sleep
on the couch in front of her old TV,
the bust of JFK,
and her framed photo
of the son she never got to see.

During the day
we’d go off to explore,
especially the train tracks
where we’d imagine hobos
hitching rides.

She’d told me,
“the bees are out,
thicker than molasses.”
And to “be careful. 
Just be still
when they come near you.”

And I was,
except when
my cousin distracted me
by making me laugh
and I swatted my arm
and got my first bee sting.

It hurt
but I knew Grandma
could take care of it.

We wove our way back
to Grandma’s where she
plucked a leaf from her
aloe vera plant and squeezed
some of the gel out onto the sting.
It was better than new.
She could do anything, like I said.

Pig-boy might have even been real.
You never know.

© 2014 Jennifer Wagner

A couple of days ago Grace presented us with the work of James Wright.  She said we can use a “line of verse as a jumping board” and to “feel free to explore where your muse takes you.”  My poem isn’t the same subject as the one of Wright’s that I springboarded from, but it’s where my muse lead.  I think I went autobiographical because of Wright’s simple family roots and of course, “Jenny.”