This morning, when Dad was half-drugged by sleep,
He raised on one elbow and peered through one eye.
In an epiphany of realization
He saw a dear yet old woman lying nearby.
For in the night a metamorphous had occurred,
Which, without a word,
Had transformed his tender wife
Into a withered grape.
Feeling the need for companionship
And suffering from the confusions of age,
Dad softly cried, "Where is she?
Where is my gift, my once-youthful bride
Who lifted daily my confidence and pride?"
The ancient lady awakened, turned slightly,
And struggled to brightly say, "Good morning, Hubert."
She then placed her soft hand on Dad's arm,
Closed her brown eyes, and lightly drifted back to sleep.
Over the years, Mom's skin
Gradually lost its will to stretch tautly.
Now in weakness, her old shell sagged
And quietly absorbed from her crumpled pillow
New wrinkles upon the old.
But, in spite of the stark recognition of his wife's losses,
Dad carefully touched this gentle granny,
For he remembered the light of her pure, once-firm face,
And he remembered the fire and might
Of her youthful embrace.
For years, Dad had sipped the nectar and bliss
Of an enduring marriage.
Now, tilting his head slightly, he whispered,
"Your ripening doesn't matter. I'll always hang on."
Having finished the thought,
Dad fought back and released a tear.
Leaning now on two elbows, he brought his lips
Near Mom's wilting cheek
And kissed away his fear.
© Allen Hackworth 2000