Finery and Grace

by Steven R Weiner

Sliver of moon in night sky

There was a thin dignified
Upright old lady
At the front counter –
You know the type – they gather
In churches and other sanctuaries –
Paying for her toast and tea with small change.
I wondered what she meant by saying
“I was up late watching the moon
Mending its silver-haired cloud finery
With the thinnest needle of light.
I sewed the grace back in.”
I wanted to ask her but she didn’t wait.
I thought, with all the shit we’re standing in
These chilly, broken days,
How could anyone think like that,
Let alone say it while they were counting
Out nickels and pennies?
Maybe I didn’t hear it right,
But it would be much too strange
To have imagined any statement like that.
It was plain daylight.
No one could conjure up such mystic balderdash
With the sun glaring on every
Little bit of human labor
In our hemisphere, but then
It had probably been plain moonlight,
When she took out her sewing kit,
An old Schrafft’s Candy box.
Metal, hinged, the way the best candy came
When she was first learning how to sew.
I thought all day about what she might have said.
About her and the moon and the way they dressed,
Not rich at all, but dignified, simple.
Defiant with her self-respect.
She stood upright.

Category: Featured, Poetry