At kitchen table, I regard my young self
gazing on purple bush.
Chewing sugared walnut,
I’m back savoring Gram’s delectable bread
that disentangled, soothed early years.
I devour another slice under lilac canopy.
Is this a figment, a veil that will soon dissolve?
Inquisitive mood dances festive
when my ears bend to dad’s glee-filled voice
hopping from one Croatian word
to the next sonic utterance.
I open unlocked door to his enticing vibrato.
My dinky feet shuffle, joined hands, clap pure glee.
Can this be real right now, right here?
I know that it is, even as my hair thins silver
looking more like her every day.
These visions, these sounds ferment in me,
sooth as a cradle song.
Some may call these illusions, memories,
nonsense, living in the past, but she is here
so is button accordion on his happy knee.
His slippered feet bounce like gossip at family picnic.
Incandescent images sober me,
when her quiet voice speaks to scatter silence.
“You only live once” resounds.
Eyes look through me as if through a pane of glass.
I see reflected future self as hers.
We sit at long-ago kitchen table,
she uses elegant gestures,
exaggerated movements I recognize as mine.
Understand her molten tenderness—
a hope for my vintage self.
In comfortable drowse we peer out window.
Sprawling sunburst afternoon warms flowering lilac
exactly like it was— pungent and comforting
many years ago, like today, or maybe tomorrow.
I overflow with miraculous zest,
Transfixed into wondering if “we only live once”
is but a slip in time?
Inspiration from “Brief Answers to Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
Marianne has been a music teacher for 43 years. After teaching in Hong Kong, she returned to the Napa Valley and has been published in various literary magazines and reviews including Ravens Perch, TWJM Magazine, Earth Daughters and Indiana Voice Journal. She was nominated for the Pushcart prize in 2017. She is a member of the California Writers Club and an Adjunct Professor at Touro University in California.