Friday, July 23, 2010


Queenie was curled up
On the sofa,
A lock of white hair
Falling across her
Closed left eye.

She appeared
On my doorstep
Looking forlorn,
Her eyes begging
For kindness.

I let her in
And shared my supper with her.
She was clearly hungry,
Practically inhaling the food.

I asked her
If she would like
To stay the night.
This time,
She didn’t say no.

Most times than not,
She would say no,
The food reinstating her pride.
I was happy she was staying.

I watched her sleep
As I sat in the armchair
Across from the sofa.
I watched my grandmother sleep.

She chose this life.
A life that has taken her to
Many cities,
Many streets,
Many soup kitchens,
Many shelters.

She refused to accept help
From my mother,
From my aunts and uncles,
From me.

And yet,
She would appear
Begging for a little kindness
And we would give it.

We were happy
That she was alive,
But we knew in the morning
She would be gone.

As I watched Queenie sleep,
I didn’t know
That this was the last time
That I would see her.

She was gone
When I woke up,
The blanket folded neatly,
A bowl and spoon
Dripping in the dishwasher,
A little less cereal in the box.

No one saw Queenie
Since I last saw her,
And yet no one cried.
It was something
We accepted a long time ago.

Just like that,
Queenie slipped from our lives.

To all the Queenies
Of the world,
We accept you,
We miss you,
We love you.

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