I remember you, growing older,
how your skin adapted- as if it had grown in the garden
on the branch of the rhododendron.
Shiny it was, with lines that time had tempered into it,
ever so carefully, like you tempered peace into our panic,
stillness into our hast, serenity into our cacophony.
The leaf, always that single leaf of our lives, never wanting
to be the blush of the flower, just the leaf- always under, in support.
New leaves, like weathered skin, sprout slowly from aging bark,
a soft beauty between the bramble and briar,
between being the wife, the mother and the grandmother.
Today, I tended the garden- mum’s garden now,
your garden once when we were but shoots and you- the whole tree,
and I remembered you
and the slow shuffle of slippered feet and those grand cardigans
that wrapped their comfort across the curve of your back,
that bowed like a branch to reach us all the better.
I recalled your skin that had grown a line for each of us,
a connection to catch hold of, to come back to, those kids we once were
with spotless skins life had yet to mark, always eager to explore
while knowing how to find our way back
and the one who would be waiting on her stool, by the widow,
in the kitchen, in the sunlight, pealing and baking, baking and pealing
to the tune of the radio and the whirl of the twin tub
waiting for one of us to find our way home.
I remember you, as you grew older, today and every other day.
All words by Damien B. Donnelly
Today is my Grandmother’s 12th anniversary. She now grows in the garden of the hearts of her family.