. . . "for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at."
Looking in my fluorescent magnifying mirror,
dabbing dots of concealer on the bags
under my eyes as the magazine for aging women
who want to stay beautiful shows,
I suddenly feel the register in the room's music
deepen and know that my Auntie Sue is sitting behind me
on the worn chair that was Aunt Edith's. O both these women
had eye bags to beat the band.
"Aunt" Edith, my mother's stepmother
with that gene that creates these features on your face
like a nose or a mouth or a chin but that don't
start growing until somewhere after 40 about the time earlobes
also seem to have grown longer,
Aunt Edith whose pedigree and provenance I know nothing of
and never cared to because I didn't like her. But
Auntie Sue, my dad's sister, was different.
The woman had the most glorious eye bosooms
in the history of womankind,
reminding me of the women gathering tea
on the hills by the Black Sea,
their soft burlap tea bag carried in front
like one large breast
growing as they stuffed in more leaves.
I wish I'd had more time with her,
because what she carried in her eye bags was fragrant,
like that black tea, not poisoned like Aunt Edith's Chernobyl tea bags.
Auntie Sue whose humor was her pedigree and when you aimed
a camera her way said she'd break it,
whom all of us adored and never had enough of in her 92 years.
She might as well have lived by the Black Sea she was so far away
in Virginia where tobacco leaves grow but here she is, sitting behind me!
- smiling her wryness as I try to cover what we got from her mother,
and she says: One day you won't be able to cover them Ruthie
but just be sure that what you carry in them is fragrant.
*Note: On April 26, 1986 the worst nuclear accident in history occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine (then USSR) and the radioactive cloud it released contaminated the tea growing along the Black Sea in Turkey, which was while we lived in Istanbul. There was a tea crisis, and the tea already in stores sold out in a day.