The wedding bands gleamed on their fingers
when Momma, Aunt Sophronia, and Grandma
sat on the front steps of Bradner, Ohio,
and combed each other’s hair.
Aunt Sophronia’s hair
was the color of burnished cobwebs.
She sat at the top, and she combed Lena
Bernice’s hair, which was the color of faded tinsel . . . Lena Bernice
who was really Grandma,
combed Momma’s hair, and braided it,
while Momma held the cat, Uncle Theophilus,
Every Monday morning
they ran barefoot on the wet grass
to the wash house, and did the washing,
and hung their dresses in the sun
until the dark calico bleached
into Resurrection lilies.
Every Tuesday, after they drank their breakfast tea,
they put on the long dresses, the dresses
of faded hollyhocks and brown calico,
and sat on the front steps and combed each other’s hair.
And once,Grandpa walked across the street
from the yard -goods store, and took this picture.
c. Elizabeth Ann James Shiblaq, 2013