Mom says that Grandma and Grandpa have tails
they keep hidden inside their pants.
Grandma’s is long, fluffy, pink, and prehensile.
Grandpa can write with his, holding a pencil.
Each morning they groom them and
curl them up tight,
being careful they don’t touch the floor,
then tuck them up snug in the back of their pants
so they won’t get caught in a door.
Mom says my grandparents swing from the trees
by their tails and she raises her brows.
“And you know, long ago they rode out on the range
and used them to lasso the cows.”
I’ve asked my Grandma, and she told me that
when it comes to tall tails, Mom could write the whole book.
But I’m not so sure. Else why doesn’t Grandma
let me look?
About this poem: When my niece and nephew were toddlers, my sister, Susanna, thought it would be hilarious if she told them that our parents have tails that no one ever saw because they kept them inside their pants. As my sister and her family lived right down the road, her kids saw a lot of their grandparents. But never enough of them to know if it was true.
Much to my disappointment, Susanna controlled her impulse and never actually told Chloe and Myles that Mom and Dad have tails. But when I had my own children, I wasn't so mature. They only believed me for a little while, but still, IT HAS NEVER BEEN VERIFIED EITHER WAY.
PS: Prehensile is one of my favorite words. Appendages that can curl are prehensile, like an opossum's tail or a monkey's toes. I wish I had a prehensile tail I could write with.
Ms. Betsy's oldest surviving poem is one she wrote in the third grade. "Down in the Sewer" didn't make her popular, but it made a small group of loyal fans very cheerful. Some of the latest poems she's written, "Six Poems of the Galapagos," will appear in Cricket Magazine in the summer of 2020. She hopes they'll reach a wider audience than her first poem did, and make more people cheerful...and possibly provoke some thoughts, as well.