her last room, where she waits in state,
hatted and girdled, hair teeming with pins.
Her crumpled face crackles with mischief.
She is older than the century, erstwhile Rapunzel
who had not known to grow her hair.
Hand-me-down air clings from mother-dear -
a prayer under every breath
and her daughters' dresses stiff as blotting paper.
Frieda, five feet tall, taught and enthralled
boys in their teens. Happy times
and best of times for being out of step:
she was removed from school when she refused
to toe the Führer’s line. Much of her life though
she stowed away, homing in mothed skin,
counting beads and her heart on a string.
She sailed dreams trailing shaggy wings,
and when finally laid up, without guard or girdle,
kept her handbag in bed with her, open,
spilling regret like teeth from an old mouth.
To me she was the kindly crone from my fairytales,
born old, hands packed with plenty, ready
to grant wishes to those who dared want.
Postern to yesteryear she sank in her downy bed,
eyes logged with sorrow
that she’d never been kissed.