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Grey Sparrow Journal

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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Old Woman

 

I looked in a mirror tonight

my thought was only

to see if my glasses

were straight

and I saw something

else

I saw

my young self

You

are very beautiful

                                    I said

 

                                   -Marie Sheppard Williams

 

 

 

Room 108

 

First day of

first grade!

She comes early

and watches for someone

(she knows the room

number 108 but where

is Number 108 the school

so big       many

different floors

corridors)

watches for someone

from last year’s kindergarten;

 

a hundred doors.

 

She is a thin child

and her dress

ruffled and fancy

blue crepe

not appropriate for

first grade, she feels,

beaded around the neck.

It drips on her like she is

a coathanger.

 

Oh! here are

Margaret and Lois

She follows them

strolling

outside the school

arm in arm

best friends.  She

dares not lose them, what

if no one else ever comes?

 

They stop.  “Why

are you following us?”

one of them says.

Lois?  Margaret? 

“I’m not,” she says.

 

“Yes you are,” says

Lois.  Or Margaret.

 

She turns, walks

the other way,

widdershins

like in the old fairy tales.

 

She reaches

Room 108 eventually

and somehow;

she gets through

the first grade

with flying colors

so the teacher says

gets through all the other grades

goes finally to the

University

gets a Ph.D.

But—this is a strange

thing—she lives still

with a sense that

there might be a room

somewhere that holds all

the important knowledge:

how to dress

how to find places,

friends,

someone to follow.


-Marie Sheppard Williams