Minnie Remembers
By Donna Swanson

God, my hands are old.
I've never said that out loud before but they are.
I was so proud of them once. They were soft, like the velvet smoothness of
a firm ripe peach.
When did these slender, graceful hands become gnarled and shrunken?
When God?

They lie here in my lap, naked reminders of the rest of this old body that
has served me too well.
How long has it been since someone touched me? Twenty years?

Twenty years! I've been a widow, respected and smiled at,
but never touched, never held close to another body, so
close and warm, but lonliness was blotted out.

I remember how my mother used to hold me, God, when I was hurt
in spirit or flesh. She would gather me close, and stroke my
silky hair and caress my back with her warm hands.

Oh, God, I'm so lonely.

I remember the first boy who kissed me. We were so new at that.
The taste of young lips and popcorn and the feeling deep inside
of mysteries to come.

And I remember Hank and the babies.
How can I remember them but together?
Out of the fumbling awkward attempt of new lovers came the babies.
And as they grew, so did our love.
And God, Hank didn't seem to mind when my body thickened and
faded a little. He still loved it and touched it.
We didn't mind if we were no longer beautiful. Why didn't we
raise the kids to be silly and affectionate? As well as dignified and proper?

They do their duty. They drive up in their cars, they
chatter brightly and reminisce, but they don't touch me.
They call me mom, mother, grandmother, never Minnie.

My husband called me Minnie, and my mother and friends did, too-
but they're gone and so is Minnie.
Only Grandma's here. Oh, God, she's lonely.