A Letter from Aunt Vinnie


 She is tied to her sink.

Sister Martha, at ninety-three,

shocks her with curses, croaking

so loud she wishes it time

to set out on the ice floe. 

She polishes her Mama's stemware,

each glass so clear Vinnie shivers

in her bones at nothing

but the touch.


She is building her nest,

would prefer that you

not drop in.  She has placed

orange tiger lilies,

tang grass to catch the light,

left open space under

the trail of O'Keeffe's road. 

There are two old wooden chairs,

a small tea table, a china pot,

handle turned out,

two cups, bone white,

a slim green bottle of Perrier.


Some day, she says, you might be welcome.

But for today:  there is this place,

wild ivy tumbling from a planter overhead,

the cool room, splashed with wild flowers;

and only an occasional scream

from Sister Martha

in the distant bed.