I’d like to lie down next to her
on a giant quilt–the kind
made by an Appalachian grandmother
with twisted fingers and knuckles like walnuts–
and listen to her read aloud
from her collection
or speak to me softly
of what she had found in the forest
that day as she wandered.
I imagine her voice now crackles
like a forgotten record
dusted off and laid gently on an old turntable.
I might strain to hear her with my good ear,
sometimes staring at the ceiling or
closing my eyes to listen, and sometimes
watching the lines in her face
animate with the telling of a good story.
If I held her hand,
it would be brief–but I’m sure
her grip is yet strong.
When she tired, I’d kiss her cheek,
and we’d share a cup of tea.


This poem was inspired by Mary Oliver in 2016, prior to her passing just a few years later.