by Rose Mary Boehm
I saw her one last time.
Erect and hating her condition,
she rolled her chair a little more
towards the windows of her winter garden:
“The elms will have to go, you know.
The elms are sick...
“I climbed them as a child.”
There was that catch of hidden sadness.
Her voice had lost its edge.
Miss Worthington had stayed alone
from choice. She’d had her lovers.
The spinster word was not for her,
a vibrant beauty once and weathered now
to autumn’s gold and shorter days.
And in that instant, when I looked at her,
I knew that winter’s crystal hands
had reached for her and brittled her resolve.
“It’s time,” she said.
Perhaps she meant the elms.
Then she leaned back
and closed her eyes.
“It was just yesterday when I was young.
I’m being called to give account.
“Oh yes... I know.
“One day, I thought, I will be wise.
We shall have time – tomorrow.
First let us conquer, change the world.
Let’s catch the firebird
and torch old customs, thoughts,
moralities from yesteryear.
“But what is wisdom... am I wise?
All that I’ve learned is: time cannot be saved.
The time you do not use is lost.
There is no piggy bank in which
you later find those days you wasted
And while I lived my life in haste
it passed me by.
“The elms will die...”
Her voice trailed off.
She followed some internal discourse
from which I was excluded.
I waited quietly and was at peace.
Her triffid garden filtered light and sound,
some wild, exotic green caressed her lovingly.
My dear Miss Worthington,
you were my teacher and my friend.
Because of you my mind took wings,
and you it was who taught me courage.
You are the wisest of the wise
and your accounting will suffice.
Her voice came back,
her eyes stayed closed.
“They fuss so, don’t you know?”
A fly, emboldened,
settled on her cheek.
When no hand waved it off, I knew.
I did not move.
Her eyes stayed closed.
A smile had woven
sunlight in her face.
A sudden ray of brightness
touched her silver hair.
Last updated August 04, 2012