Inappropriate, For H.


Long ago, a young super hero with my mom

Monday Morning Musings:

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”

–William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 1


“I want you to write a poem for me,”

You said,

“Perhaps call it ‘Inappropriate,’”

Although you’re not–

We both could name others who are–

No filters,

You know what I mean.


Perhaps it’s something you dream of

Dancing on the bar and all


Not ever a goal of mine,

But to each her own.

You think you’re old

Though you’re not–

Not even half the age of my mother

Your grandmother—

Really, what are you thinking?

And what does that make me

If you’re so old?

Well, we’re both wonder women,

Though perhaps not the way you imagined

When you wore the costume

We both still wonder, of course,

But our super-hero stunts are more mundane

Displayed in daily words and deeds

Be kind to others,

And don’t forget your lunch,

Do you need a Band-Aid?

But I’m writing this poem

Because it’s your birthday

To show you I remembered

The day you were born

Not long ago in years

Though long ago in life

Before computers and cell phones

Before marriage—and children

Me, still in college,

One hundred pounds soaking wet,

(well, that’s changed, too)

Hair long, curling down my back,

Jeans with frayed hems and platform shoes

A call to the payphone in the dormitory hallway

(try to find a payphone now)

To tell me of your birth

Truly I didn’t know you were you then–

If you know what I mean—

Not what you would become,

Nor I,

Me, more concerned with school and friends,

With love and youth,

But we are sister-friends now

The tightest of bonds

So you ask for a poem–

I would give you the moon

If I could–

But a guess a poem will have to do—

Even if it’s inappropriate.








36 thoughts on “Inappropriate, For H.

  1. What versatile writing muscles you have, Merril, jumping as you do from poetic forms and points of view.

    A few years ago my mother said when my birthday rolled around (and hers too), “It’s strange to have such an old daughter.” She was in her 90s when she said that!

    Incidentally, I have not received notifications of your last two posts. Something screwy with WordPress I imagine. Anyway, I’ll re-subscribe now . . . can’t miss any of your posts.

    • Aww, thanks, Marian. Age is a matter of perspective, isn’t it? 🙂
      I remember when my brother turned 70, I wondered how I could possible have a brother that old.
      It is strange how that happens sometimes with WordPress. Remember sometime last year, I think, I wasn’t getting your posts and some others? I think there’s some kind of Word Press Gremlin. Thanks for re-subscribing.

    • And to add a story to yours, a friend was congratulated on the birth of his first grandchild. He was asked if having a grandchild now made him feel old. He said, quickly, “No. But sleeping with a grandmother sure does.”

  2. What a wonderful gift. Inappropriately appropriate, perhaps. 🙂

    Those were the days… frayed hems on our jeans and platform shoes. So glad I’m not wearing those shoes anymore (although if I have to wear shoes that make me taller, platforms are more comfortable to me than high heals).

  3. Merril, you have a lucky sister! Sounds like there’s quite an age gap between you. My husband is the youngest of four and his eldest sister was 17 when he was born. They lived in rural Tasmania so there was talk that she was his mother…the usual stuff.
    To say that he was unexpected was quite an under-statement. His mother was boked in to have a hysterectomy and was told to go home. She was pregnant. She was 38 I think when he was born when was considered elderly back then but not unusual these days.
    Makes for a beautiful story!
    xx Rowena

    • Thanks so much, Rowena. She’s actually my niece. We just say we’re sisters. But her mother is 7 1/2 years older than me, and my brother is 12 years older than me. My younger sister and I are only 2 years apart. We have friends who have a son and grandson the same age. Their daughter got pregnant and then my friends had a very unexpected pregnancy!

      • It makes things interesting, doesn’t it! My friend and her husband had 3 kids and the youngest, a boy, said he prayed for a brother and the Dad explained that it wasn’t going to happen. Well, the power of prayer trumped family planning and the brother dutifully arrived. Then, after their daughter had her first grandchild, another one number 5 arrived. My friend was running a cafe at the time and so all these surprises weren’t exactly easy adjustments. They now have photos of two toddlers showing “Aunty” with her niece. So cute.

  4. Merril, this feels very poignant to me, and I took it differently than others. I felt it could be a poem from a mother to her daughter until I got to the part about her birth. But the love in the poem is similar.

  5. I think this is a wonderful gift … and if I read it right, to your niece. What was her response?

    PS: In case you didn’t notice, about a month ago I moved my link her to the sidebar on my front page.

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