Mennonite Poetry Home | Larry Nightingale



Aganetha Toews (Aganetha against the wind)

         Lines on paging through the maternal family albums

    Seemed some wind was always about carrying up
slip, skirt and apron, big gust catching
at the black flapping of her coat. All that
sideways tug and drift took bone-thin billowing thighs
and midriff almost elsewhere, everyway
and on any fair grey day.
    Always the sculpted skull and old features fixed
fast, tied tight under chin, kerchiefed
against the click and blast, set
and scowling in black and white for the killing camera.
    And leading in the rather more photogenic
heavy-horse and plough, humped over hoeing a row
or following the pretty cow out, Grandma was all spit
and stamina. Her bow-legs in those heavy hose
stood planted firm. (And still-shot
still in motion.) Arms crossed square, she's dare;
Staring the camera blind, her heart's fierce fire burning
somewhere in there, where no draught turned
(and not even doctor's x-ray could be unkind.)
    Now time itself blinks
and, maybe, even eternity winks behind
her sweet infamous dark looks, steeled devotion.

© Larry Nightingale




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