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By Katherine Johnson

Senior Citizens Center – 418 Studdart Avenue – Graceville, MN 56240

In Graceville lived Angeline and Joe, good neighbors to the end,
Where long ago they met when full of Eden’s energy;
The winter dances and summer lakes with quiet kisses
Under the ancient oaks, seeded, from when the land was unplowed.

And Graceville became Fate’s due for Angeline and Joe,
Marriage and home, inescapable came, a rabbit snare;
While brothers and sisters, dandelion seeds, scattered,
Spread by imagination and prairie winds to universities and war.

There caught, Angeline and Joe lived, in fat times and lean,
Where they made, baptized, and raised their babies;
Grew a pension, tomatoes and summer squash
And accounted for them all in the fall.

Meanwhile the hedges at Graceville’s limit grew tall,
Obscuring memories of winter dances and summer lakes;
shoebox photos, stored under blankets, testified silently that
Love had become something more and something less.

Soon enough the winter’s snow faded into black earth furrowed,
And the oak leaves trembled and murmured the names of
Angeline’s and Joe’s children, fresh dandelion seeds,
Kidnapped away by the prairie wind and circumstances.

The pension grew ripe while the garden lay dead,
Life became silent dinners, television news at 5 and 10 pm,
Trips to the butcher for still warm polish sausages,
And disconcerting diagnoses that still could be ignored.

One day the prairie wind hammered Angeline and Joe to bits:
First child Robert blew his head off in a hotel room with a shotgun,
Margaret came home exhausted by alcoholism, divorce and children,
While Pamela, only came home to bury the dead and an occasional Fourth of July.

The day Joe died of cancer, he cried fear and begged to live,
While Angeline just cried tears and wandered in and out the hospital room;
Months later, Angeline found comfort in her good neighbors,
And during lively dinners at the Graceville Senior Center.

Copyright 2016 – Katherine Johnson – All Rights Reserved