memory of Gertrude
There's a photo of your sculpture
But not of you.
"Yes", my mother says
"She was a fine sculptor."
I imagine you, dark hair falling in your face,
Huddled with your three small children
Your cheek touching the gas stove.
"If only I had known,
If only I had been close by."
You heard the whispers of gas some fifty years ago,
I hear my mother's sad voice.
Let's change your story
It's New York City 1952
My mother lives but seven city blocks away.
"Mary, They're releasing him . He's home tomorrow. I can't handle it."
" I'm coming Gertrude. Just sit tight. "
You put coats on the children , wrap the baby in your shawl.
Mary steps out of the cab . The elevator rises up eight floors
She glides through your unchained door
Right up to you
Bundled in your heavy, winter coat.
She gently takes
Your hot hand in her cool one
One baby under her arm , your toddlers grabbing at your coat
You're through the open door
Down the corridor you can see the elevator buttons.
You hear her soft voice.
"Come Gertrude, let's go little babes, the cab is waiting.
We'll find a way. "
You look into her brown eyes ,
You grip her hand tighter
Ready to follow her anywhere.