Amid the sweetest smell of viburnum
and a multitude of orchids, orchids
that emerged from bark, orchids coming
to light from moist moss
I become aware of her hands.
In her hands, pointed as if in prayer,
she held pale lavender simple
a countenance of tranquillity
The priest said she was an
ordinary woman who lived an
widowed at forty, mother of three,
unlimited kindness and sacrifice.
Her hands held me and together we cried
the day my father died. Her hands opened
the door for me when my own mother
rejected me; her hands washed the dishes
in the sink, and did the laundry the week
of her grandson's birth knowing I could not
walk a step.
Her hands gave blessings to others
acts unaware and unsolicited and
her hands taught not with didactedness
but with movements of reserved
consideration, always listening.
Fran reminds me of the color purple,
not royalty or blue-blooded,
rather queenly though, an eminence
In her hands, I place a
This poem is dedicated to my mother-in-law who died recently at the age of 93. She was a simple and kind woman of grace.