Northridge Review, Vol. 5.2 (1987)

Mary Harris

Parade of relatives files through
the door like coins through a slot.
Tupperware and Pyrex descend on tables--
Chex party mix,
onion dip and chips.

Grandma, balding matriarch,
skin fragile as tissue paper,
issues orders from her armchair.
She stashes insulin and needles
next to homemade pickles in the refrigerator.

Spinster Aunt Mildred rolls in;
wheelchair gags on shag carpet.
She gave up cigarettes after her leg
was amputated twice last year.
No one buys her slippers for Christmas.

Grandpa shuffles in carrying Mil's fake leg
upended like an unwrapped gift,
props it in the corner, 
sits in a chair and naps upright,
his hearing aid turned off.

Cousins once banished to the station wagon
for punishment
now tower like statues
Mike will graduate Notre Dame;
Bob, a coke rehab center in Arizona.

Five sisters on a sofa hip to hip
slip chip to dip to lip.
I choke on smoke and See's candy
frozen gray and pick cashews
out of the party mix.

Back to Contents of The Best.

Back to the CSUN home page.

Send questions or comments to:

Warren Wedin