I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Paley-Grace1Grace Paley (December 11, 1922 – August 22, 2007) was an American short story writer, poet, teacher, and political activist.

 

 

 

HAND-ME-DOWNS
Grace Paley

My love rests on the couch
in the sweater and bones of old age

I have stopped reading to look at him I take
his hand    I am shawled in my own somewhat
wrinkled still serviceable skin

No one knows what to do with these
hand-me-downs    love them I suppose

weren’t they born in and out of
dignity by our mothers and
fathers    even our children in
the grip of merciless genes will
wear these garments

may their old lovers greet and
touch them then in the bare light
of that last beauty

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HERE
Grace Paley

Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that’s who I wanted to be

at last         a woman
in the old style     sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt     grandchild sliding
on         off my lap     a pleasant
summer perspiration

that’s my old man across the yard
he’s talking to the meter reader
he’s telling him the world’s sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth     I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa     ask him

to sit beside me for a minute     I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips.

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ONE DAY I DECIDED
Grace Paley

One day I decided to not grow any older
lots of luck I said to myself
(my joking self) then I looked up at the sky
which is wide its blueness its whiteness

low on my left the steamy sun rose moved

I placed my hand against it my whole hand
which is broad from pinky to thumb no my
two hands I bared my teeth to it my teeth
are strong secure on their gold postsI breathed
deeply I held my breath I stood on my toes ah

then I was taller still the clouds sailed
through me around me it’s true I’m just
like them summertime water that the sun
sips and spits into this guzzling earth