Treasure Island

Shirley Alexander

(12-05-1953 / Somewhere under heaven, Georgia, USA)

Sometimes, Life Gives You Lemons


I remember Easter dresses, folds of pastel cotton
embroidered, lace edged, scent of sunlight
and my mother’s lemon sachet.
Not like the young girls who rush by, breathless with gossip,
in their short black skirts and loud Sunday shoes.
But, I am just a jean clad grandmother,
Browsing the Kroger pastry isle on my first Easter alone.

What brought me here, shopping alone on Easter?
Oh yes, I had a desire for sweet lemon and coffee.

It was barely Robin blue, that dress I wore for you
on our last Easter picnic together.
You fed me lemon cake, with custard filling,
soft and moist as a kiss, and tart sweet
as only yellow can be.
I spilled coffee on your shirt.

Forty-four years later, I sit alone in an old red truck,
in a Kroger parking lot, sipping Starbucks latte
while cursing this powder dry lemon cake
I had to open with my teeth.
I can almost hear you scold: ‘Savor the flavor,
damn the texture. Wash it all down with coffee
and life will be beautiful.’

What brought me here, lonely on a Sunday morning?
Oh yes, I am hungry for a taste of lemon custard with coffee.

The young boy retrieving carts looks like you.
For a moment, I think it is so.
I run a quick hand through hair that still won’t hold curls,
hungry for one backward step.
Just one.

But, I haven’t worn an Easter dress.
And sunlight shines on this day, revealing.
The boy is just a boy. You are many years gone.
I am a grandmother who wears jeans on Sunday
and I am trying to savor the flavor of life
as I wash the dry down with a memory of Easter dresses,
and you.


Shirley Alexander,2013 (how can our time be this old?)

Submitted: Friday, April 19, 2013
Edited: Wednesday, October 02, 2013

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  • Paul Brookes (4/19/2013 8:39:00 AM)

    Another painting in words so bitter sweet like lemon zest I love your use of words so well considered.Thanks for sharing BB: O) (Report) Reply

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