Sunday, January 19, 2014


it was a banana peel
on a high up branch

it made us laugh

and hug - 
as we said good bye
to those lovely North Carolina mountains
and the sparkle of that tiny lake
named after Indians

as she said good bye to 

this space 
and this life
her last few breaths 
of the mountain air

never one to waste anything

not even organic trash
it often went over the porch rail
to "feed the hill" she would say

these clothes 

to the battered women's shelter
that furniture 
to an old couple she knew
"down on their luck"
these pieces of jewelry
collected over all of her life
to her grandchildren

one last dinner party 

to say farewell
to new old friends

the last little pile of books and pictures

came back with me

and all she took for her last trip 

were two unplanned suitcases
with clothes she'd never wear again

one final transfusion

to give her strength
for that one last trip
one last good bye to Heidi and the boys

as we stood on that high up wooden porch

of her treehouse
in the winter mountains
we held each other
our grief rolling down our faces

and then there was that

banana peel
brown and curled
to feed the hill

we looked into each other's eyes

and laughed 

at that 




I will always hold on to that laugh

it was golden


Melanie Bardin said...

This is really beautiful, Tim. Thanks for sharing.

Ruth Anne O'Keefe said...

Thanks, Tim. That banana peel in the tree makes me laugh too.

Chris Hass said...

I love the little things people do that make them less (or maybe more) than "ordinary." You've told me this story before and it's a good one. Do you ever wonder what your stories will be?

I have a relative that, while visiting our house when I was little, peed off the back porch because the bathroom was full. Where he was from that wasn't such a big deal because he lived miles from other houses. However, in the suburbs of St. Louis it didn't really go over all that well with my mother. As you can imagine.

Authors know this and use it all the time. We were discussing Missing May the other day. Ob has his whirligigs. May her garden. Cletus his suitcase full of magazine clippings. These are all endearing - certainly more so than public urination.

And me? Well, I guess someone might one day write a poem about how much I hated Wal-Mart. Ugh, I hope there's more than that!

Tim O'Keefe said...

Chris - Maybe they'll write how you wear shorts on the coldest of days. Quirky. Endearing. Unique.