She once was a pretty young thing; perky pear-shaped breasts,

 hazel eyes tinged with emerald green, pampered daughter

of a maritime merchant, whisked away from home a war-time

bride whirred across Northumberland Strait in gale force winds,

spume of whitecaps looking like tears on her radiant rosy cheeks.

Uprooted and transplanted on a rural island with no hydro,

roads or plumbing, destined to remain a stranger in a land  

closed to outsiders. Avoided by feuding clans whose grievances

were fueled by rum-soaked enmity, jealousy and stony ignorance. 

Alvina’s husband, Remegius referred to them as

unable to get both oars in the water.

Now a plumpish senescent widow, husband drowned fishing

off the Magdelan Islands, she’s isolated stranded in a rocking

chair after two coronaries and cataracts, teeter-tottering around

with swollen ankles. With quivering tread proudly keeps  

her kitchen as antiseptically clean as an operating room

maintaining a sign over the stove: Old age, when thoughts turn

from passion to pension.

Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream.

Nodding off she dreams of Tangee wet kisses and undulating  

caresses that never end.

Resigned to bodily decrepitude, bosoms pendulous as a prize

winning 4-H Guernsey milking cow, a second chin droops

like a turkey’s wattle hanging over a dyspeptic round belly.

Every day is the longest day of the year.

As the sun sets over Rollo Bay in a translucent magenta

and orange haze she feels most lonesome, playing solitaire,

waiting for 7:30 to watch Jeopardy.

Remegius always said: Its a poor person that can’t entertain

themselves. Alvina was as ordinary as meat and potatoes

except for her intense curiosity about unusual stories reported

in the newspapers. To entertain herself she compiled a vast collection

of scrapbooks composed of Believe-it-or-Not stories.

Remegius would have been proud!


Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie Street Leonia, N.J. 07605