To the Women I Love Who Turn Seventy This Year
You were girls, of course, before you were mothers,
in saddle shoes and crinoline, singing along with the radio.
But motherhood suited you.
Though we're all past thirty now,
you still call us babies: remember braiding our hair,
teaching us the alphabet,
how to eat our vegetables and love one another.
Between you, you've mothered every child in town,
every child you ever met.
1943 must've been
an especially good year
for baby girls.
Yet you have both lost so much:
your parents, your husbands,
your brothers and sisters and friends.
There is much and more to mourn.
And seventy year old bodies complain
more than you expected,
as young strong-armed mothers,
or teen-aged Minnesota girls
dreaming of Minnesota boys.
You both still plant your gardens,
and reap what you sow, richer
in flowers and friendships both.
As you begin your eighth decade, we are so glad
to have this time with you. We will share
your cold beer in the Minnesota summertime,
while you dance with your grandchildren
in these gardens full of love.