Hello writers and readers! Here is another poem from Crossroads III to welcome you back from the Holidays. Marie recently read her poem at the Paramount, so if you missed that event, read on! Thank you Marie!


Our Fading Wonderings

Marie Ungar


Wrinkled hands

caress smooth, colored paper

over uniform blue sheets,

folding, unfolding.

Old eyes

searching for solace

in the meticulous scribbles of

three words, painstakingly written

again and again over ninety-seven years

so they are engraved on all the        loneliest

walls of her mind.


Weary thoughts break a leak and

the memories come

pouring, unbidden,

of not so long ago

when they left her, smiling

with small hands and full faces

and tight hugs around the knees

that made her teeter

but laugh just the same.

To think they didn’t even know

it would be the last time

that he gave her his wide

blue gaze; she her

harmless words—

they’d miss her, they said,

as they boarded the plane.

How much? she wonders now.

How much?


It was not so long ago

she watched from the doorstep,

fretting over sandwiches and veggies

and brown paper bags.

Hair a little blacker,

back a little straighter,

she waved in farewell

as the bus pulled away.

Through the darkened window

young lips formed the words—

I’ll miss you, they said,

excited and nervous.

Looking back, she wonders:

How much?


Not so long ago

she was that little girl herself

who didn’t even contemplate

what it would be like

to fade.

The moving van next door

of the utmost significance—

oh, how they sobbed

over braiding hair and

packing boxes.

I’ll miss you; they hugged

after laughing and crying

and she never stopped to wonder:

How much?


She searches and searches

in the large, inked letters

so familiar yet foreign

written                        miles               away.

Life is so beautifully

redundant it               hurts,

yet in the end it refuses to answer your questions.

The heart rate monitor beeps.

The clock ticks loudly.

With effort she loosens wrinkled,

arthritic hands,

letting go—

you’d think she might be good at it, now.


The card

falls to her lap.

We miss you, she reads.


But how much?

A punctuated pause;

she closes her eyes.

The final fluctuation;

she wonders.