Shared Bed by Maryhelen Snyder






Grandgirl, you are in my bed now, and in all of it.

You are horizontal and your soccer feet are planted

like oaks on the far side. Your head wants me,


wants to root itself like our over-sized pet pig

whose snout found its way in and out of all

hitherto assumed confines. Unable to sleep


because over-accustomed, I know, to sleeping alone,

I get up and half-circle my larger than king-size bed,

only to discover your immovable legs. So I learn


that seven is old enough to be stretched across all

my space and erase me from the chronic familiar.

Next day, over our strawberry smoothies at the Mall,


you watch me withdraw into reverie. Grandma,

you ask, what are you thinking? Bringing me back

to you. I tell you about our bodies in bed. This night


when it is dark and we’ve finished our chocolate and game,

you will climb in beside me again and read aloud

while I become child and drift to the edge of dreams.


You will turn out the light, then cross the distance

between us and place yourself gently under my arm.

We will sleep. Will you, grandchild, till death do us


hardly part, remind me how our bodies need each other’s?

Maryhelen Snyder (Mel) has been writing poetry and prose for over 75 of her 85 years of experiencing the joy and complexity of being alive. She was named the 2016 Poet of the Year by Passager which also published her most recent book, Never the Loss of Wings. Among the poets she carries in her heart is Emily Dickinson who could express the inexpressible in lines such as this one: “A perfect — paralyzing Bliss —//Contented as Despair —”
Image by Eve Drewelowe ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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  1. Mel, You reach my heart every time I see you. This picture of you with the grandchild poem says so well what it’s like to have a grandchild in your bed. I have felt the same feelings that you write about. I was so pleased that you sent this poem. I love you still, Jan Hollingsworth in Albuquerque


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