The question (a poem)


If you were to ask the old woman in the back pew
how long she has been here
sitting meekly, never slumping 
respectable and proper
she would look at you through tired
and filmy eyes.

Eyes, crow feet with extra toes
blue as seas of winter snow collected
in our backyards in January.

She would exhale deeply
like a summer breeze gently 
kissing juniper branches green and supple
as they bend and yield
to her affectionate wooings.
How subtle her movements
fragile even
yet it belies wisdom personified
beneath these brittle bones,
capturing decades of moments,
snap shots
mastered as well as the flaming

disasters on failure’s crushed dreams.

She would look at you,
warmly smile
and her answer,
beckoning as it may be,
will take another year 
to finally sink in…and then,
perhaps you will return again 
wiser and more sincere.

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