On Turning Fifty
I miss the women of my life.
They became my sisters.
I haven't heard from Maureen.
She's from northern Indiana, a blooded
plumber's daughter who laughed her way to me
at eighteen and had a stroke at forty-two.
She wears a brace, still chases leprechauns.
Last I knew.
I'm afraid to see her now, this friend
of the part of a lifetime that really counts
though nobody's keeping score but Miss Clairol.
More afraid I'll find her gone and I was
too busy to notice.
I want to go back.
Back to that magic hall where dirty dorm
songs echoed and cussing felt damned good.
Mama wasn't there to give us the look.
One more night of pizza with hairy buffaloes
dipped from a porcelain tub cleaned with Comet.
Before we had a grip on what really lurks
in a girl's-dorm tub.
The same night Diana, with her waist-length
hair went under the stall door to rescue Molly.
That night Di brought the Herbal Essence goddess
to her knees.
Baptize me with life again.
Back when Sister's Sledge was our mantra,
halter tops were sacrilegious and
there were lives waiting to be saved.
Some of us needed to save our own.
Before one got tough and dropped half a dozen
dress sizes and three guys carried another
into the night. She rang in the New Year
tossed over a guardrail while they paraded
around town in her TransAm.
Julie didn't deserve that.
Before one needed six tries to fill
a yellow blanket, a second denied
the joy of morning sickness and
a third learned the gut definition of
Before one locked her soul in a house
that never quite felt like a home,
two learned to love again after
the other woman and cancer pulled
pieces from two more.
Before Suzy died.
We are the circle. Oak tables frame
families, grandbabies fill scrapbooks
and Irish stew is haught cuisine. Closets
hide worn pumps and everybody owns
a black dress.
I need these women of my life.
The hell with email.
I'm calling Maureen.
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