the cat's pajamas, colored pencil on paper, 9x12, 2010.
you told us there was nothing greater than a husband,
until you have children.
nothing greater than children, until you hold your first grandchild,
because your grandchildren are the cat's pajamas.
but grandma pauline, your crooked fingers,
that once delicately ran over white and black,
that studied at Juilliard, that taught, that held,
that mixed banana and mayonnaise behind an art deco countertop
amidst an olive green home, (a color i will never understand why was popular)
with the clothesline in the backyard,
in between the double beds in your room, beside the train set downstairs,
when it was always fall in Asheville,
exist more in my mind than you in your wheelchair
always waiting at your door, your abanico in hand,
the humility that has finally replaced your frustration
at being ninety three with early dementia after multiple strokes
and not being able to come over on sunday anymore.
i remember those things, that old musky scent
and the way you still smell like jergens lotion.
the way you tell us not to run through life holding umbrellas,
with much repetition, out of so much pride and joy.
you are the cat's pajamas.
my assignment for atx this week was to draw a person we love, and to write a corresponding poem. this is my grandmother pauline, who is 93, and who i am blessed to have still living so close to my family's home. "the cat's pajamas" remains one of her favorite (and most endearing) phrases.