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Mrs. K

By John I. Blair

When we moved here
More than 15 years ago
The first new neighbor
I remember greeting us
Was Mrs. K.

Quick witted, spry, and wiry,
Epitome of graceful aging,
She would settle at my spinet
And whip off all the hottest songs
Of 1948,
The belle of our salon.

Keeping to familiar streets
She still steered her ancient Ford
To church and into town.

In her living room
The walls were decked
With a dozen antique clocks,
Most of which still worked.
The ticking was amazing.

We talked a lot that year;
She'd walk across,
Knock at our front door,
And for half an hour
Play the wise old woman,
Doyenne of the block.

Later, things began to change.
She argued more, was easily upset,
Grew forgetful, needy.
Asked me to start her car,
Help her find a purse,
Fix a thermostat that wasn't broken.

Then came night wanderings,
Impromptu porch appearances
In just a gown,
Trembling and scared.

The driving stopped;
The clocks ran down;
Conferences were called
By the doctor's wife, her daughter;
And one day she went away.

Strangers live there now.
The place looks nice
That once was shabby.
But for years to come
We'll still refer to 1205
As "Mrs. K's old house"
Wondering when 1206
Will gain the name
"The Blairs' old house."

(c)2006 John I. Blair  

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