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Postcards for Hanukkah, The Sixth Night: Grateful for What She Imagines

Delores lives nearby. Eighty-two years ago she was born in a wooden shack in a small southern town. Now she lives in a colorful mobile home nearby. Delores has not had an easy life. Husbands, children, a series of physical problems. She goes dancing every week.

My friend Delores
she’s 82 beautiful she is
missing a few body parts
doesn’t let that get
in her way she makes money
cleaning houses
has a handsome lover named Jim
he has one good leg
she got a big turkey
for 8 dollars at Shoprite
invited some people made 3 kinds
of cookies including pumpkin oatmeal
my friend Delores says
she’s grateful for what she
has for what she imagines
tomorrow will be for
the time she danced
with Rudy Vallee cute cheap bastard
she said grateful for dancing with Jim
on Fridays when he can come to visit
his one good leg is better than two
said Delores for her leopard skin coat
she found when she cleaned out an empty house
for her five children some of them call her
for the dollar store she found her favorite
biscuit mix and it was a dollar for her mother
god was she fun said Delores she had a bar in Harlem
five husbands maybe six her mother danced
every day of her life. So does Delores.

Author’s Note: Some years ago when we were both teaching at Parsons School of Design, Matthew Septimus and I decided to collaborate. Our intention was to capture holy people and holy places, all that transcended the ordinary, with his pictures and my words. Over the years we began to consider our project as a kind of prayer, how prayers would be if they were pictures and poems. This is one of an eight-part series titled Postcards for Hanukkah.

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