Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 7
Fall 2013

Inventory 1995

by Fran Burnett

Whose hand is this that holds my pen,
With gnarled knuckles and mottled skin
Covering dark blue bulging veins
Diminished strength and pointless pains?

Whose mirrored face stares back at me
Returning my intensity,
Young eyes set in furrowed face
Appearing oddly out of place?

Surely this is some mistake
A troubled dream from which I’ll wake
To see reflected comely grace
Of tight smooth skin and youthful face.

How did the years slip by so fast?
I hardly noticed them fly past.
Where are the friends I used to know?
Gone like the loves of long ago.

Why must the senses dim, pray tell,
Hearing and sight and sense of smell?
That lust is gone is not a grief,
In fact it’s rather a relief.

Passion still lives in gentler flow,
Not like the torrents I used to know,
The gutsy emotions out of control
And poesy singing up from my soul.

From time to time I hear a voice,
Its coming never of my choice,
I cannot tell when it is near
Until it sounds my inner ear.

It’s been some time, I think I’ll try,
With luck tonight it might reply,
“How long,” I ask, “must I remain
A square-peg person on round-hole plane?”

“Do I approach the final gate?”
“Not yet,” it whispers, “You must wait.
Hold on a while yet, little one,
There’s work to finish you’ve begun.”

“What foolish pledges have I made?
What vow, what debt is still unpaid?
Is it written deep in stone?
That I must struggle here alone?”

But no, the voice is silent now.
I sigh and stretch. Thanks anyhow.
Of course I know what I’m to do,
The things I need must follow through.

But when it’s time that I can leave,
You who’ve loved me, please don’t grieve.
For I’ll be back, just count on that,
The same old me but different hat.

Recycled back for one more tour.
I’ll seek you out you may be sure.
You’ll find a babe that seems to see.
Look deep in the eyes—it might be me.


SHJ Issue 7
Spring 2013

Fran Burnett

has been writing poetry all her life. She has been widowed for more than 57 years. She lives at the St. Paul Residency in San Diego and attends the monthly independent-living poetry workshops.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury