Branstetter Lane
for my grandmother, Elizabeth Branstetter

Elizabeth in the
morning before beveled
mirror in the dining room off wood
stove kitchen of the 30's ranch house she
and Fred built yes Branstetter Lane
they called it down there and
it still bears the

in flannel nightgown a
pink flower print she brushes
her long hair makes two braids then
circles them twice around her head humming 
softly blue eyes see sun through
lace through oaks birds in the
fruit trees out east

through her kitchen
grandchildren in and out
oatmeal toast and homemade jam
shiny silver spoons in a crystal vase on the
round oak table on vast linoleum
floor back porch screen door
slams how many

Elizabeth in the 
morning sees Fred out kitchen
windows he slowly makes the rounds
from woodshed to vineyard to fruit trees to
shop returns to creaky oak rocking
chair with form-fit leather pads
time for a morning

five children (three
of eight had died) and those
taken in along the way gone but
for visits and big framed photos on the old 
upright piano of course now the
grandchildren in plentiful
supply in and out and

gone the milk cow
chickens donkeys horses hogs 
only one dog now ol' sweet Blackie 
and yes all the kids come laugh run raid kitchen
cupboard crackers while in light of
lace Elizabeth in the morning
bakes dinner's peach

© July 1998 Leslye Layne Russell

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