Landlady, by Jim Farfaglia
Just a hair under five feet tall,
her mug of coffee ever present,
she’d show up each day
to wash the dirty dishes
nine college boys had stacked high.
When I’d stop by with my rent
she’d invite me in to listen
as she played piano;
toe tapping the rhythm of her youth,
fingers waltzing through the years.
When we were sick,
she’d offer home remedies;
when we were short on cash,
she’d lend quarters for the laundry—
I can’t remember if I ever paid her back.
She was as devoted to us—
her boys, as we were known—
as she was to her husband,
Oh, how she filled her life to the brim;
the first time I’d seen it done so well.