Sometimes, Life Gives You Lemons - Poem by Shirley Alexander
I remember Easter dresses. Folds of pastel cotton.
Embroidery. Lace edges. Starched bow sashes.
Scent of sunlight and my mother’s lemon sachet.
But, I am a quiet blue jeans grandmother,
browsing the pastry isle on my first Easter alone.
Not like those young girls who rush by,
breathless in their short black skirts
and loud Sunday shoes.
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
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-six years later, I sit alone in an old red truck,
parked outside Kroger, sipping Starbucks latte
and 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.
But, I haven’t worn an Easter dress.
And sunlight shines on this day, too 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,
(how can our time be this old?)
© Shirley Alexander
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