The wild blueberries are ripening, slowly, slowly, all along the sides of the trails for the deer. Awake early to finish preparing for my Wednesday morning writers, I head out early into the bright sunshine and fresh cool morning air. I have plenty of time to linger where I want to linger. At the swampy wetlands the Blue Flag iris continues to break into new blooms and Suzi takes a morning swim near the cattails. The wedding dress hangs in view of my bed in front of the French doors. I have remembered something about the dress I had forgotten for years. As I’m walking, I revisit it, let it surface. I left with Frank for our honeymoon from my bedroom in my parents’ house and when we returned to pack for my move to Florida with Frank my mother did a nice favor for me. She had taken my dress, (mud stained on the hem from the good luck rain of our wedding day muddying the grass of the front yard), and had it cleaned and sealed in a box she slid under the bed in the room where I’d slept. She knew I might want to open the box for a daughter of my own some day. Then, I moved to Florida, lived near Frank’s mother and her mother, his grandmother, Nana. Nana lived in a retirement village called Top of the World up three flights of steps. Nana had been to our wedding. She wore a white evening gown for my afternoon wedding. (It was a "white wedding” and even my mother wore white.) Nana wore, always, a blonde wig and a full face of make-up, she was pretty and aging and enjoyed large gaudy rings. One day she asked me if she could borrow my wedding dress. She was serious. I didn’t know what to say. Why not? It was the oddest thing anyone had ever asked me. Why did I hesitate to say no when I meant no? Nana had paid for our honeymoon - we were so broke. Did I feel I owed her something – even something so intrusive and strange? I have a vague, very vague memory of telling her the dress wasn’t in my possession. Did she really ask me to have it shipped down? Did I tell her no myself, or did I tell Frank to tell her no? One way or another, she got the message. No, she could not wear my dress. My dress. Mine from my wedding. Tomorrow we go see the seamstress. Just my daughter and me. We are making my dress hers. Nana will not be at Perri’s wedding. She died shortly after Perri’s second birthday. At her wake her boyfriends wanted to fight each other. Was she buried in the gown she wore to my wedding, or am I now making this memory up?
The prompt I bring today involves three poems about spirituality, God, or a higher power. One of the three poems is Maxine Kumin’s amazing poem, “Morning Swim.” In my preparation, I found this recording of her reading the poem in 1974 and played it for my group: