Poems for Wanda

Poems for Wanda

by Andy Mitchell

The following poems pay tribute to my mom’s sister, Wanda, who has always been an inspiration to me. I will never forget her kindness as an aunt (and neighbor for eighteen years). Some of you might know that I am an inveterate walker. But I will have to walk to Buenos Aires and back to equal her output. Dedicated, reliable, and good-natured, she has set a standard of human dignity without meaning to. For she has done so merely by being herself.

  

Merit Road

Sitting in your chair you wish you could

go for a good long walk.

But you’re failing. After all

these years I can’t imagine

the mileage you’ve logged

each spring, summer, fall, and winter

around this village. It has to be a record

no one will ever touch.

And now that you must

remain inside against your wishes

you merit the rest sitting by the window, mark-

ing time as the sparrows glide

past your eyes falling to the faded front walk

surely missing your outgoing stride.

 

Walking for Wanda

Tonight I’m walking for Wanda

heading homeward, westward

into the dark.

Tonight I’m walking with Wanda

arm-in-arm through the snow

and the cold.

Tonight I’m talking to Wanda

who can hardly hear anymore, even though

she still listens;

still shows me the way as I wander,

lighting a path as she stirs

in her hospital bed,

while I revel in the inclement weather,

rejoicing in movement, even if it takes me farther

into the dark.

 

 

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