Lynda V. E. Crawford is a poet who has lived in the US longer than her childhood home Barbados. Both ‘homes’ sway and punctuate her writing. Lynda writes poetry vignettes. She’s been a journalist, copywriter, website manager, and email marketer. Poetry won’t let go. She’s a graduate of The University of Connecticut (Bachelors) and Long Island University (Masters). She now lives in Southern California.
The distance flows, tall
as a grandmother’s right hand
moves up in a tight bond
with her cup. Enamel,
A down flow of milk tea
descends to a partner cup
bringing soothing air
to cool the heat,
save tongue from burns,
leave room for sweetness.
A child’s eyes look up
at the tea fall’s soft guttural hum,
grandmother’s gnarled fingers
strong as the habit of a juniper tree,
a pencil cedar, gone and unforgotten
How many times
have strong brown wrinkles
of left hand echo right,
left cup rise, with a child
counting each pour aloud
Hands know when it’s time.
They’ve since passed, yet
memories still pour.
I stand in my grownup kitchen
hear the suctioned release of fridge door
opening to take in a single hot cup, to cool
I keep still. To wait.
To watch a thudding close
remember a tall distance
when a grandmother’s hands flowed up.
This tea, cooled by electricity
appliance, gasket, a closed door
fails to sooth my longing throat.
I tap an email on my mobile phone,
incoming from Word Genius, Word of the Day.
Said loudly, its second syllable expands my chest.
I strain to remember the meaning
before looking. I always do.
Rotund, jolly, effusive perhaps.
I’m wrong: Affection and kindness from an uncle.
I have many uncles
all dead on my mother’s side
some on my father’s, alive.
I don’t spend time with them.
When I was a child they hinted strongly
of higher status than my mother.
My favorite uncle, Eddie
was gorgeously thin, brown-skinned
strong-voiced; always laughed
with a hint of a scratch
sounded like his sister, my mother.
My favorite aunt, Golda sat
on the sand at the beach –
or was it in the yard near our pigeon coop
was there a pigeon coop –
to sing songs, tingle our young ears
with tales of dolphins caught in fishermen’s nets/our dinner.
When her baby son died, of pneumonia
before a year, before my awe
at tiny human bodies faded,
her long tears flooded her shirt; stained into me.
I want a word for her.
What is kindness and affection from an aunt?
Materteral is not what I expect.
I’m looking for a better word.
I liked the interplay in the first poem between the present reality and memories of the past, which worked well. I’m a bit puzzled by the process of cooling tea though. When I make tea the problem is keeping it hot long enough to drink.