boxy blues

by Shirley Chan Kwan '78


this entry is dedicated to nan
designed to interweave in universe plan
a fortnight before christmas with nip in the air
i headed out to dip in rinconada pool with quivering dare
shucks - i looked at wrong timetable and have an hour to spare

spotted her on a nearby bench
with roller luggage and sleeping bag, the park is her ranch
wispy silver hair and beckoning tired glare
instinct drove me to her to render care

what landed you here, how long has it been?
thus began her story given a listener keen
used to work at stanford but got myself in a pickle
now living on social security trickle
lost my mobile home, lost my car
got alot of family scars, am no longer a star
daughter-in-law can’t stand me
software engineer son in san jose had to choose, you see
i had to go and been out on the fringes some five years
got auto immune condition, learned to deal with tears
i miss my 2 grandkids, such cherished dears
but now reduced to memory smears
i’ve toughened but the bleak future sears

i cried for and with her, lost my smug
i felt helpless and could only offer a prayer and hug
we talked about conversations with God
how He has protected her all this time from sod
how He humbled her and unraveled her kinks
there is something in store for her, she hopes and thinks
meanwhile further into societal oblivion she sinks

an hour flew by and time for me to amalgamate as i stroke
nan’s given me alot to stoke
a few naive bubbles broke
a reality poke

here is nan without a box to live in fit
i know of one who owns a box but deprived of enjoying it
then there’s another who has a box but it’s cold, empty and lifeless
another who filled a box with life but living on subprime edge reckless
then i read of corrie ten boom’s home flung open to strangers
love boxed in awaiting dangers

life in a box is a paradox