Here’s a poem I wrote last year:
What you can’t know when you’re young
How the big girl with the baby face
Turns into the woman with bags under her eyes
And the fine skins lined with eyelash thin wrinkles.
How you become the sandwich memory keeper
Who tells your cousin’s children about your grandmother
And knows that someday it will be important to them.
How the details of weddings and funerals
Who was there and what they said.
what songs they sang by the piano in the basement.
How those things matter.
How it matters what those Mennonite wives and mothers , sisters in law,
Wore and said in the kitchen while they got the meal together.
Always jello and creamed corn on the menu.
You can’t know these things when you are young,
How the necks of women become crepe draped
How you can see the laughing eighteen year old
Behind the laughing sixty eight year old
Same person same person.