There are no stars tonight But those of memory. Yet how much room for memory there is In the loose girdle of soft rain. There is even room enough For the letters of my mother’s mother, Elizabeth, That have been pressed so long Into a corner of the roof That they are brown and soft, And liable to melt as snow. Over the greatness of such space Steps must be gentle. It is all hung by an invisible white hair. It trembles as birch limbs webbing the air. And I ask myself: "Are your fingers long enough to play Old keys that are but echoes: Is the silence strong enough To carry back the music to its source And back to you again As though to her?" Yet I would lead my grandmother by the hand Through much of what she would not understand; And so I stumble. And the rain continues on the roof With such a sound of gently pitying laughter.
Cleanliness is next to godliness
Southern Comfort Cleanliness is next to godliness
Grandma always said. Most days she met me at the screen door with a feather duster or our new Electrolux vacuum, the hose sucking my blouse. She said she liked her girls clean. She said I was coated with dog hairs, horse hairs, and God only knows what all else. Fixing me like a flower bouquet, tucking in my blouse, fluffing my bangs and adjusting my barrettes, she'd stare me down just to let me know I was allowed in only if she said so.