TITLE: To Aunt Ruth
By Diane L. Harris
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by waiting years to love you?
Well, we loved in sync for a season,
and all good times count,
however overdue or brief.
You were my childhood example of glamour.
Every time Dad brought us to visit,
I rushed into your bathroom full of scented powder and fluffy pink rugs,
to handle your bottles of perfume and shampoo,
inhaling the exotic and reading the directions for future use.
Despite my fascination with the products,
your red lacquered nails scared me.
Ruth Lefkovits, a career gal back in the day
when the term suggested
tough but tender broads with coiffed dos,
painted faces, monogrammed cigarette lighters, and extra cash
for trips to Lord & Taylor
or for buying tickets to the circus for one adult and one niece.
What motivated me to push you away for so long?
The scales fell off my eyes the day my future husband witnessed my impertinence
and demanded that I show you respect.
His words shone like a mirror
and shamed me with their ugly reflection.
Have we ever shared a joke?
I never asked you anything personal --
such as the reason you never married --
it was none of my business.
I admire anyone who keeps the bar high.
Though all it took was the right mate for my heart to be pricked
over what you may or may not have given up.
You never stopped loving me, although from time to time
I’m sure it was hard to do (an understatement).
One of the joys of my life has been learning to love in return.
Missing you now, my spirit extends to confide:
I hope you are not afraid today, Aunt Ruth,
buried in the blue recliner, in your room on Garfield Street.
When I see you again, I’ll sing you a song about Jesus.
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