Two Women at the River
Daddy, Grandma, and Fidel Castro
Fat Lady Sonnet
Senior Housing

About Jeanne Lupton




The Rubenesque one drove them there.
They had the little park all to themselves,
the woods, the sandy beach, the river.
The pale one especially liked
to be in the woods—they reminded her
of Girl Scout camp.
The one who drove loved the water.
It reminded her of her sometime true love
who had a boat.
She also grilled the hamburgers
and shared her home-made potato salad.
The women ate well, and drank
beers the Girl Scout brought.
The tan one slathered on the lotion
lay on her beach chair in the sun toasting
herself all pink-brown reading a romance novel.
A motor boat went by out on the river.
The sensitive one lay in her chair under the trees
reading Virginia Woolfe. 
The pink-brown woman had an idea.
She took off her swimsuit,
shimmied out into the cold water.
The sun beat down hot on her
and the gentle tide
lapped at her voluptuous nakedness.
The also now naked one with hardly any tan line
slunk out into the shallow cove.
That motorboat went by way out
on the water and the voluptuous woman
flashed him waving yooo-hooo.
And the now brave other woman flashed the boat.
And the guy did a doubletake
roared back around closer this time for a better look.
And that one who loved romance novels
and made the potato salad laughed and laughed. 
The motor boat tooted his horn and drove off.  
Those shivering women got out of the river,
dried off, put on their shorts and t-shirts,
felt refreshed, sang along with Willie Nelson
all the way back home.




Daddy and I were riding out Route 29
in the green Chevy station wagon
to The Goose Creek Country Club
for the big New Year’s Day Party.
Suddenly we heard on the radio
that Fidel Castro had taken over Cuba.
Daddy was furious.  Godless beast!
he yelled.  Daddy belonged to the anti-
communist society.  He wanted me to be
an anti-communist too.  Of course I was,
I loved my daddy.  I said Does Fidel Castro
know he is a communist?  I didn’t see how
anybody could be a communist on purpose
if they were as god-forsaken as Daddy said. 
Of course he does Daddy yelled. 
Then he yelled Dammit that woman
has been tailgating me for miles. 
I looked out the back.  There was Grandma,
Daddy’s mother, coming to the party
in her white and turquoise ’55 Ford. 
Daddy believed in Chevrolet.
Grandma had gotten her driver’s license
at age 60, bought her own two-tone Ford
and drove it all the way to California and
back.   Daddy said she was crazy
The party is over.
Daddy and Grandma are dead now.
Fidel Castro gave Cuba to his brother.
I live in California.




As Philomela went to hide
Among the slaves and mutely write,
So I call out from deep inside:
A woman in a world too tight.

The life I loved is gone, I fear.
All lost.  My body is a tomb.
Hello, I’m still alive in here,
But lonely in the spreading gloom.

Unheard, I am unseen as well.
I am too large to see, and dumb,
And like the hills I roll, I swell.
I am encumbered, cushioned, numb,

But smaller than I’ll be tomorrow.
That’s what mitigates my sorrow.



After visiting
the divorce lawyer
Wanda felt strong again.
To celebrate, she stopped
in the pub for a beer
and some chowder.
There were oyster crackers too.
So small and so crunchy.
Wanda didn’t hold back.
She chewed them up.
She chewed them up
like an army of disintegrating
little husbands.



Friday night
I watch TV in the lobby
a neighbor
brings me a special treat
his last chocolate Ensure




, poet and reflexologist, moved to the Bay Area from Northern Virginia in 2002.  She lives in senior housing in Berkeley with her cat, Larry.  Her poems have appeared in Darkling MagazineHaight Ashbury Literary Review, Portland Review, Copperfield Review, and elsewhere. She hosts two monthly reading series in the Bay Area.