Life Cycle

Nobody can account for her.
She's ninety-six and still climbing
roofs to pick off moss
the way some people
keep clipboards by their beds
to claim thoughts after dark.
A middle child,
her kettles never full,
a planet on the edge of extinction.
When she puts away dried apples
her attics fill with harvest.
Sacs of desiccated plenty
hang light from the rafters,
reminders of her garden.
Each summer she sifts roses for sachet,
scatters them onto screens,
dries the petals to press
the sun's claim on her yields.

Joan Maiers taught writing for returning students at Marylhurst College in Lake Oswego, Oregon when this article appeared. "Life Cycle" was written for her grandmother who lived to be 102.

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Sojourners Magazine November 1993
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