Grace Paley

Poems featured on The Gladdest Thing


Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face

how did this happen
well that’s who I wanted to be

at last      a woman
in the old style      sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt      grandchild sliding
on      off my lap      a pleasant
summer perspiration

that’s my old man across the yard
he’s talking to the meter reader
he’s telling him the world’s sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth      I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa      ask him
to sit beside me for a minute      I
am suddenly exhausted by my desire
to kiss his sweet explaining lips

— Grace Paley