Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Poem of the Week: Grace Cavalieri


Maybe she had dementia,

the old lady in the woolen hat,

I don't know, but she

stopped short in the middle of the aisle,

when her son shouted, PUT THAT BACK.

Clutching a small bag of chips -

like a newborn against her chest,

like a prayer,

like something she owned -
her face collapsed,

Please, but no sound came except,


This was Christmas Eve, not that it matters;

Why even embellish a story like that.

I can only tell you I walked behind her

as she walked behind her son,

until I could no longer watch,

yet there was something about

her lopsided hat, her lowered head

that made me sure

no matter what happened next,

she would not put it back.

-Grace Cavalieri

Used by permission.

Grace Cavalieri is the author of several books of poetry and 23 produced plays. She founded and still produces/hosts public radio's "The Poet and the Poem," in its 34th year, now from the Library of Congress. New Poems: Millie's Sunshine Tiki Villas, 2011. New play: "Anna Nicole: Blonde Ambition" opens 2011.

Cavalieri was a featured poet at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness 2008.

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