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Nine decades she worked the moment
chore-to-chore, pinning each day in line
the way she hung wash all those years
from her kitchen clothesline –
taught and straight as prayer flags
in the wind. But now, sight dim
mind loose, she circles back around
her early days –
a pony ride in Prospect Park
a graduation ceremony
and when I try to enter in
her world, she says goodbye –
goodbye backache, goodbye old age.
Each clean shirt and towel
a Sunday-school psalm sung
last notes wavering in the breeze
but finally the line is empty.
Goodbye china-doll, goodbye first boyfriend
birthday parties, trolly rides, and spelling bees.
Goodbye blue sky
goodbye my darlings, goodbye.