top of page

Tough at Ten

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

Amelia, my father's mother,

lived too far from California to be Grandma.

Nebraska's distance stretched her title wider:

Grandmother 'Melia.

But it was into grandma's lap we'd slip

after two thousand miles on our Dodge's hard cushions.

All of ten, I really wanted to check out the bra section.

But excitement was running through me--I just had time

to tear and wipe with that cold, glossy Sears & Roebuck.

Guess uncle James was trying to cool me off

with direct-hit squirts of unpasteurized cow's milk.

Grandma 'Melia handed me towels to dry off,

then a lap-seat show of her photo album.

Even that fading black and white​

showed her face in tactile contradiction:​

mango fresh cheeks up to the rims​

where two coal-rough eyes begin.​

She holds her infant sister​

one third her size: head above head​

with electric fence eyes​

daring, "get past here alive!"

"My Lord," I worried even then,​

"was she ever given time to be ten?

--Tim Van Ert​

Right Click Image Save:

Download PDF to Print:

Tough at Ten
Download PDF • 213KB

2 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

"then a lap-seat show of her photo album."

I like this picture, Tim. Sharing a photo album with grandma is such a special time. And your insight about her life shows how much you cared about her.

Rate this Poem
Rate this Poem

Thanks for submitting a review! 

load more

bottom of page