One Hundred Strokes
Never once did I count aloud
the hundredth stroke,
sound asleep in Grandma's bed
as she brushed my hair with
her silver hairbrush, counting
aloud with me till I tired,
closed my eyes, went off
to a comfortable dreamland.
Awakening next morning,
usually a Saturday, stretching
to get going, we'd dress,
head out the back door,
through her garden full of smells
that intoxicated if you lingered,
but we had a mission - the bakery.
There she purchased Parker House
rolls in a pan, still warm, so
we hurried home, made tea,
stretched out breakfast on her
sunny summer porch until most
of the rolls and orange marmalade
had disappeared into a full tummy.
I had to go back home, reluctantly,
later in the afternoon, taking
a sleep-inducing streetcar ride,
nodding as I counted blips
in the steel tracks, relaxing, yes,
nowhere near as comforting as
Grandma's soothing brush strokes.
"One Hundred Strokes" was previously published in the January 2011 issue of Long Story Short.
Bill Roberts is a retired nuclear scientist and widely published poet; his works having appeared in over 200 online and small-press magazines. His poetry has been nominated both for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Bill gives a seminar on how to write a poem a day in 15 minutes, then prep it for market. He, his wife of 53 years (both her age and years married), plus two totally spoiled dogs live too near the edge of Broomfield, Colorado.