Twenty-four hours to turn
So they say
That much time to earn
A new day

Not just any new day
I am told
This one will make me
Very old

Turnin’ sixty-five today
Must be time
To begin my play
In good rhyme

Twenty-four hours to turn
This year ’round
Makin’ what I can
‘Fore I drown

–Victoria Emmons, Copyright 2015

Mother’s Day

As I get older
She fades just a little more
I try hard to remember
Try hard to find moments of love
Hugs and hearty breakfasts
Taxi duty and lessons in etiquette

I want to recall our 18 years
Together as mother and child
I try hard to remember
Her raucous laughter when
My sister made jokes about butterflies
Or the dog chewed up a pillow

I want to be in that moment
Relive my surprise birthday party
Family picnics at the zoo
Or the embarrassment of
Being 24 hours early
To a friend’s baby shower

I try hard to remember
Presents under a tree
A five-dollar bill mailed to France
To help pay for spring break
A torn hem in a wedding gown
Passed down for the ages

I try hard to remember
But my taste fades first
Cowboy cookies mailed in a neat box
Cherry pie under a sugary crust
Overcooked green beans
With bacon on the side

I try hard to remember
The smell of splattered grease on her apron
Orange rolls drizzled with white icing
A steaming cup of Folger’s instant coffee
Always instant, rarely ground
My nose no longer cooperates

I try hard to remember
Wrap my arms around her loving heart
To touch the silver watch
Too tight for her left wrist
And stop time forever
But touch is the next to go

I try hard to remember
The red lips painted on her pretty face
To match the colored fingernails
I replicate today
Her skin soft and smooth remains
A precious gift to me

I try, but it is hard to see
Unless I gaze in a mirror
Count the lines on my own face
Lines of time like hers
From laughter and tears
But my vision blurs now

I try hard to remember
Her loud wake-up calls
In early morning
As she flipped pancakes
And tried to roust the troops
Unwilling to face a new day

I listen and hear nothing
Of the countless story books
Read over and over
To an eager audience of children
And their friends always happy
To be at my house instead of theirs

I try hard to remember
Her sage advice as I stood there
On slippery courthouse steps
A marriage lost and long forgotten
A message of pride as to who I am
No matter the challenge life brings

But hearing also fades
The last to vanish

–Victoria Emmons, ©2015

Engine No. 2

Niles Canyon

Black steam churns and spits
From every crevice of the old maid
Her body worn with travel
Soaked with time and stories to tell

She coughs with every breath
Attempting to please the crowd
Those who decry her age
Love her no matter what

Each chug makes her believe
She can, she can, she can
She thinks she can and she will
Fly down the rails yet again

—Victoria Emmons ©2015

A Clash of Old and New

I am somewhere between the Castro Valley and Bay Fair stations. The BART train schedule is on time today. I have to change to the Richmond line in order to arrive at Oakland City Center-12th Street. There I will find Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and the seminar I am to attend.

I am reading an article in The Atlantic about how women can’t have it all. As I flip to page four of the lengthy article, I look up periodically not wanting to miss my stop. I did that once on another train and woke up to find myself in Livermore. I have learned my lesson.

The magazine article has captured my attention, yet I am semi-distracted by the garbled train announcer telling me something I cannot fully comprehend. I am confident that I can multi-task. I glance out the window for only a second and then my gaze returns to the magazine. I press my pointer finger to move the digital page up for a better view of the next paragraph. Only problem was the magazine was paper.

I smiled to myself.

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

Wente Concert Summer 2009

Palm trees wave at dusk
Blue backdrop to the stage
Backdrop to my memory
Of hits from the 70s

Graying heads bob
In rhythm to the music
Songs behind our minds
From a former time

A single lighter flame
Waves back and forth
Keeping time with
Familiar melodies

Others follow the lead
Of a digital flame
A sea of mechanical fire
Erupts in unison

Cheese on our knees
Share a Cabernet
Stars in the sky
Planes fly to SFO

The crowd is relaxed
So easy and free
Nothing less than
A three-song curtain call

Claps and whistles abound
An old man wearing a hat
Dances with a slender blond
The night’s still young

–Victoria Emmons, 2014