April 26: Nana

by allisonkujiraoka

I don’t have any vices, Nana said

I don’t drink, I don’t smoke,

but I like to get my hair done.

She said it as if to justify

her standing weekly appointment

at the salon in her building.

As if she need apologize for indulging

a simple pleasure.

Before she was my Nana,

she lost a child, then a husband.

Preceded in death by her beloved

by nearly fifty years.

Yet I never thought of her as suffering;

I never saw her defeated,

even as her eyes clouded and dimmed,

forcing her to relinquish

the joy of the written page,

pinochle with the girls,

and her Pennsylvania driver’s license.

I see now that there must have been a private moment

on a certain day

when she decided against bitterness,

determined not to bemoan her losses.

Or maybe it was a hundred moments,

every day.

I choose to remember her in this way, today.

 

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