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Auntie M

On the day I was born almost 74 years ago, she was there. And thankfully she is still.  A sassy storyteller, magnificent mentor, and comedic confidante, my Auntie M. 




Martha Young

Early on there were bees


a small turtle imprisoned

in a plastic windowsill habitat,

burnt scrambled eggs,

and soft buttered toast

dipped in coffee,

and Taffy my dog.

Cinderella and her carriage

nailed over my bed,

a tattered merry-go-round lamp 

powered by a 25 watt bulb

held carousel horses

prancing in circles

all night long.

She was there too 

someplace just outside... 

At 19, not five feet tall,

a blouse pulled too tight over breasts

too large for her tiny frame.

Echoey footsteps repeated

urgent hollow sounds 

as she climbed the

steep apartment stairs,

her clickety-clack T-straps 

covering toes keeping time

to inaudible music.  

I waited for her by the door

Her funny stories, forbidden words,

sweet perfume, hot laughter

floated through thick smoky air 

in family kitchens

bracing for another round 


Kinetic energy surged through

generations of heavily curtained rooms.

Saucy, authentic, steady,

she loved everyone, judged nothing.

Her songful voice splitting prisms

of affirmations and joy.

She was happy.


Now scuffed tap shoes

sleep silently by the kitchen pantry

near dented canned foods,

expiration dates on each and everyone.


A faded paisley blouse

leans on her body

no longer bright and saucy,

shrouded in wrinkles that cannot be ironed away

Her life-spirit still buoyant,

irrepressible, perfect.

Bumpy fingers bake brownies

clean a closet wash a floor knit a scarf,

infusions of emotional hydration

for her spirit.

Close by, a bulging plastic binder

boasts of her undeniable 

significance, tutelage, presence -

all the letters she's sent to me

spanning more than half of my life,

a gift from me on her 90th birthday. 

Her handwriting and she beautiful still

Her place in my life

Incalculable, inextinguishable.

No artificial sweeteners

No artificial ingredients

All natural

All there


Auntie M

Auntie M
Auntie M and me
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