04 January 2010

Handful of Cookies

Yesterday I saw a man out in the freezing cold riding his motorized wheelchair. I was warm in my car when we passed him by. The only cold on me were my knobby knees, poking out their Sunday best. We were late to church, as usual, and after the singing and the preaching, we got a bite to eat. It was after the soup and sandwich that we saw the man in his chair, out in the cold. We were on our way home to play a game of Scrabble with our pretend Grandmother, Betty. Betty also had a wheelchair, but the egg bumps on her upper arms told she was old fashioned.

We got home just minutes before we were to meet for tea and the game. She hadn't played since her husband died, twelve months ago. And now, my new husband and I, still warm and sugared with love for each other, would play with our pretend Grandma, Betty, and take her heart away from its lonely place, for just an hour or so.

She was delighted to see we had drawn hot water; tea always made her happy. Just tea and a handful of cookies is all it took to make this widow wed, to lift her from her chair and save her from her dead.

It was quiet in the study, so I found a tape of classical music and put it in its player. This made us feel sophisticated. To play in a house built centuries ago, across from our pretend Grandma, Betty, sipping our tea and playing our words, when really, we were just her servants.

We live and sleep up on the third floor and Betty lives and sleeps on the first. I bring her breakfast in bed and my sweet husband tends to the trash, the trees, and the birds. It was just yesterday that she asked us how we'd feel about a game of Scrabble. And of course, we said yes.

Out the study windows, the deer gathered for their dinner. We each counted four. Four, like the number of children she gave birth to, many years ago. And when her children were raised and old, she lost her second born to a car on the side of the road. Every time she talks about him, her Johnny, she tells us about his beautiful golden hair. She tells us how it looked just like their Golden Retriever's hair, and how it flowed down like amber waves of grain, and she'd say again, "Like amber waves of grain."

And I ended up winning the match. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so competitive like I always am. But she mentioned again and again, how she'd like to do this more often. How she'd like to meet for a game of Scrabble, and some tea, and perhaps a handful of cookies. That if we could just take her out of her chair and away from her riches, out of her body and away from its sickness, and into the woods and up the great mountain, that she'd go all these places while just waiting her turn...

And after the game we cleared off the table and left from the study. I helped her to bed while my sweet husband washed up the saucers. We chatted a bit and soon sadness dressed her face. "But don't worry," I whispered, "We'll play again soon. I promise, Grandmother."

10 November 2009

Her God Calling

Turmeric stains my denim jeans and Miss Betty calls my name three flights down. Her daughter is here only during visiting hours, and her son, who lives at the end of the drive, only brings the mail (check). And besides, he's got Ginny now.

Her grandchildren love her, but their youth has held them captive, and so she only gets an occasional holiday card that reads, "Merry Christmas Grandma. Love, So-and-So." And that's it. For all the ponies and the thousands, the summer camps and the caviar, "Love, So-and-So." That's it.

And so I've become like a daughter (or at least I imagine so) to her. She often calls me dear and she reprimands me too. I dropped an egg the other Sunday, and she nearly sent me to my room. Not for one less egg, but because, like the Renaissance artists, I had created a binding agent of egg and water that she believed would forever coat her linoleum. I assured her it wouldn't and immediately began with boiling hot water and green dish soap. And soon enough everything was as before, under her control and within her reach.

She uses these things called "reachers." Or at least that's the name she's given them. "Get me my reacher, Laura!" And off I go to find the metal stick with its springs and blue trigger. At each end are two quarter size suction cups and along its side is yellow electrical tape with my writing in black Sharpie. She has several reachers (in fact one for each room), and in essence, these things have become like children. I suppose I might even be considered a reacher. Her fifth child and twelfth reacher.

The other night I made a pumpkin tart. It was a job she had given, and so I used two of the other eleven eggs. We were both in the kitchen and the sun was almost set, and she continued, "I am not a drinker..." For her late husband died of it, well that and lung cancer, and she hates the stuff. She despises it. So she always assures me, "I only cook with the stuff." And I did as instructed, replacing 1Tbs of milk with 1Tbs of rum and left the bottle where her late husband couldn't get to it.

Even though he was dead, he'd still make his trips to the kitchen. He'd come to lite his smoke or come to fill his gut, but he'd always come to say mean things. And once he called her a very bad word and hurt her very deep. She wrote about it the day it happened. And when I stumbled upon this note, scribbled in the small box of march the thirteenth, seven and some years ago, I wept. I cried and cried for the mean things he called her and especially for this day, some odd seven years ago, where her worth was cursed by this man who said he'd loved her.

It's full bloom autumn here on the grounds of her late husband. The tulip trees have dropped their rusted leaves and the deer this season are plentiful. And she promised to love him, in sickness and in health. The brook is deep and the trails wide, and in plenty and in want, he promised. Her days are still a mix of good and bad, and the occasional visitor helps. And as the sun sets for night, another day done, in her loneliness and vacant state, she hears her late son, her late husband, her lost children, her God calling.

27 August 2009

She Came Back

I read Psalm 31 on the twenty fifth of August. Read it again yesterday to Graham. Today I figured I should read Psalm 32. "You are my hiding place. You shall preserve me from trouble."

Yesterday dad lost his job. This was the day after mom and I had an awful fight. The kind of fight that gets us screaming and yelling and not acting like mothers and daughters should. I hate it when she cries.

She stormed off, just like she storms off on dad, and left me standing at the kitchen table. I asked her nicely to come back. And then she started yelling. Then I screamed that she come back. I said we were dysfunctional- her and me, and this was true. And finally, with tears in her eyes and anger in her heart, she came back to me.

She sat in the green rocker and back and forth told me how much I'd neglected her, us, over the years. How I'd never had her over for a home cooked meal or how I'd never washed the linens and made up the guest bed. "Once," she said, "you and what's his name. You had me over just once." And now she was crying.

"And I'll never forget that night until the day I die. I've told your father. I told him, 'If I die, and you put me in a casket, please tell Laura that the night she and what's his name had me for dinner was one of the best nights in all my life. Not getting married, not having babies, but just sitting at that table next to her and what's his name.'"

And at first I honestly couldn't recall this night she spoke about. This night that made her cry just thinking that its only happened once. The night I made her happy. Just once I'd made her happy.

And I went on with excuse after another. Telling her I had no extra beds and even had no stove. But there was nothing I could say and nothing I could do. I had neglected her, us, for years and just now learned it was chicken and sweet tea that mattered.

She went back and forth in that old green rocker, and I thought about all those lonely nights. All my uncooked meals and all her lonely nights. And knowing that my chicken had made her life complete, I wondered about my meatloaf or perhaps my pork and brie.

And I thought about the bed that was soon to be delivered. And thought about the sheets and cleaning all the linens. I'll ask her over for some dinner and for some rest from her hard day. I'll serve a six course meal and then I'll pray she starts to heal.

01 June 2009

Black Lace

That night, the one she called me a whore, we sat out in the field and I wept- not for the name she called me, but for the state of my soul and its hunger for the world. I had a small stash of coins with me and a collection of credit cards. I'd nearly cut the them all to pieces but realised I'd regret it come morning. We sat on the grassy mound while the deer passed around us, and the moon was there to help us see and the breeze to help us breathe. He listened to me as I hummed on about eating too much and spending too much, and he just said things would be alright. And he was right. I grew out of that obsession and soon found another to cradle tight in my lonely night.

And when we were through with the mounds and the moon, we came home to her weeping and her legs spread about. And dressed in black lace, with black tears down her face, she was bleeding to death and to life all the same. She convulsed and she shook and she grabbed at our knees, then fell at our ankles and started to plea. With fingers clenched tight, cutting into our bones, she reached for forgiveness and clawed at our souls. The dark and the bright, all collided that night, and the demons and angels did fight for her plight. For the windows and doors and the lights overhead, did flicker and shutter like raising the dead. And we touched and we cried and we pleaded and prayed, yet she was the one- just wanting to get laid.

He held her tight, pressing the backsides of her thighs down hard against the cracked vinyl seats of their old burgundy convertible, and for a moment she was with him. He said he loved her and touched her that way too. Her long red hair was flat against each breast and her slender legs crossed. She wore a pale yellow sundress with bare feet beneath. She passed her toes back and forth diagonally across the sand colored floor mats, fixated on the color of the dashboard, wishing for another time and another face.

23 January 2009

The Lonely

One of the worst mornings of my life was the day I woke beside his lifeless body. It was like a bedroom out of a Wyeth painting- with old planked floors, exposed beams overhead, and a wood burning stove in the corner. He and I never got along, and for those reasons, he shouldn't have done what he did that morning.

Afterward, he waited at the bottom of the stairs in his work clothes- with that same old smirk across his face. I was still wearing my tears, and his sweat too, and would rather not have seen him off. We never loved each other. For heavens sake, we never even liked each other.

One night I shared with him that his swearing was too much. At that, he exclaimed "Jesus Christ! What's your problem?" It was that sort of love- one that had no understanding or care to understand.

One day we went to the Big Apple, and he made me cry in front of all those thousands of onlookers. I can see what they mean when they talk of New York City being a lonely one. He nearly left me there. But somehow we managed the drive home- me with my tears and he with his swearing mouth.

Once we even looked at diamonds. He had something nasty to say about every ring and every salesperson. I tried to pretend he was still a prince, and that I would still someday marry, but not to him- not ever. For how far he was from anything lovely or anything of beauty. I'd rather have lived in a cardboard box with the lonely in that Big Apple.

One day I decided to stop by his house- late at night. He was so angry. He always was. He showed himself to me and I was so innocent. It just wasn't how I wanted things to be- not then, not with him.

I haven't seen him now for years and think of him all too often. For some memories just take too long to fade. I wish there was something one could do to ease the mind of the past, and all its sadness too, but it seems that good things and good people are all that can be done to bring ones sanity back. Jesus Christ. It's amazing how those two words can be spoken.

13 January 2009

Act I, Scene I

For ten years I was in love with a boy who didn't love me. I said I'd marry him, and once, he even asked me to. We were young then, though, and you say stupid things when you're young. Once we went to the theatre, and the fire alarm went off in the middle of the first act. We all sat there for a while, until we finally realised that it was a real fire- not Act I, Scene III. And, single file, we pushed out of that old theatre and into the streets, and the cold November air slapped us in the face. I remember that day, and I remember not taking his hand. In the second act, he laid it gently on my lap, but I just stared at it. Eventually, he pulled back and I started breathing regularly once more.

Afterwards, he took me home. I remember lying on that old brown couch, my cheeks getting scratched with every move he made, wondering how long we'd carry on. At times, the hum of the vending machine drowned out his voice, and soon he was a whisper. He said a prayer for us and for the birds and foxes too. He was simple and dressed that way too. With his legs beneath me, he reminded me of my father- as if I were sitting on my fathers lap and not the lap of my lover.

The tile beneath our shoes was shiny and gray. And here and there, other sets of boys and girls would walk beside our laying bodies- giving no attention to our posture or our scratched and beat up cheeks. But I remember those khaki pants and his hands, like small trees, wrapped tight around my waist. And perched upon his mound of soil, I prayed, and asked, and waited- till the morning came and slapped across my face.

Days passed and as did the seasons and still I loved him so. I remember traipsing through the fields- milkweed at our knees, electric towers above, and his hand tight in mine. He stood just like those towers, with his great height and strong bones, and he walked just like the breeze- hips buckling and swaying like broken tree limbs. The mud beneath us pulled at our soles and the setting sun made silhouettes of us, a great spectacle to the stars. But we marched on, until the weeds had won, and our battered ankles had had enough.

The next morning I remember crying- weeping like an adolescent, confused in her small world. He had been doing his taxes, until my scratched face appeared at the other side of the door. He let me in and drew me tea and soothed me in those morning hours. And Jesus hung behind us, and all his disciples too, seated at that great long kitchen table- with chalices raised about. I remember liking the feeling of walking past that wall, every time I visited. Like feeling I was Catholic and like I was supposed to kneel or do some hail Mary's- there, on the cold linoleum floor, in the kitchen on the second floor.

But we never made it down the aisle- not anywhere even close. Last I saw him, he drove out to meet me on a motorcycle. For now he's an old man, with a family and a future. He drove up on his bike and parked it out front my house. I thought, even then, that I still loved him. But that was all the past- the trees, the towers, the birds and the foxes, like a story to read at night. And as he said goodbye, he touched me only once. And looking like my father- in his khakis and his curls, he was never meant to be my lover.

05 January 2009

The Way We Used To Be

An old boyfriend stopped by the inn today. "How do you take your coffee?" I asked. I had forgotten how he liked it. I didn't even want to offer him coffee, but he near insisted. I had just stepped out of the powder room on the first floor and noticed he had left a note, inviting me to join him upstairs. The evergreens on the rail poked my bare skin all the way up, and the smell of fresh pine reminded me it was Christmas. It was Thanksgiving a year ago that I left him. I got my life back and left him. It was my mother that saw me in my misery. My mother, God, and well, everyone else I suppose.

He had on that same old stained navy sweatshirt. Stained with tears and blood and all his sickness too. "Illinois," the sweatshirt read, stitched in bright red-orange and blue. He had stopped by to give the old thing back to me and some other things too. Things like old kitchen spoons and a painting I had forgotten about.Things I didn't even want anymore. Things that just made me think of him and how miserable we used to be.

I set the items on the deep ledge of the window sill and made my way back downstairs. He followed me past the powder room and into the kitchen, and that's when he asked for the coffee. I gave him what was left in the pot- a black sludge that had sat stale for over three hours. Wishing he would leave, but remembering his tendencies, I carried on with our meeting pretending he was just a customer. I warmed his scone and placed two golden butter pads on his plate. He spoke to me as if I was interested and lingered as if I cared, but those days I'd long forgotten.

He helped himself to more coffee, and to more of my time, and I thought of all the things I would rather be doing. But he still wanted more. He always did. I cleared his plate and empty coffee cup, and he turned to me as we left the kitchen. "Black," he said.

"Black?" I asked. Like the way we used to be? How easily I'd forgotten. For now he was just a customer.

24 December 2008

golden mill

My hands reach up high, past her thighs and along the sides of each breast. She purses her lips, as if to say something in a whispered voice, but never speaks. Her eyes close, in pleasure and pain, and in that moment I am her lover. They say she once was queen- wrapped in scarlet with tassels at her feet.

She is flat now on her back, still, like a dead fish out of water, and her legs, like lures, dangle aimlessly about. Her hair, a pale amber, has soiled the satin sheets, while pools of crimson gather at each nostril, filling her folded skin. But once she was queen- with butter cream curls and a gait to woo the paupers.

Time has taken its want, though, and her body now lies vacant. Lifting each leg, exposing her warmth, I cradle tight her toes and swaddle her pain and my own. And like a screaming infant, gasping for breath, life begins again.

She calls to me like a daughter, and I answer in song to ease her lonely nights. And in the morning when I wake her, her pain's beside her, and once again I reach past her thighs, and up near each breast, and in that moment I am her lover.

29 October 2008


And when I shall cross through those pearly white gates, no more shall I suffer, no more shall I wait. They'll size me and find me a gown of great glory and onto my back they'll finish the story.

My wings will stretch low and stretch o'er the streets, like a blanketed bed wrapped in satin white sheets. I'll soar through the night piercing death and it's sting, charting clouds, riding comets, in search of the king. And donning new bones, hair down to my toes, with dress silky lace, a shield to my face. Strung pearls 'neath my chin, and locked round my heart, the king I will wed and ne'er depart.

And cheeks full of rose and lips honeydew, sorrow be vanquished and death be slew. The starving will feed and the lame be freed, will soar o'er the land, a colorful band. Of my land and yours, of this tribe and that, warding off those of the deafening clan.

To live on those streets and fly through those trees, like bees, honeybees, come sweetness, come life.

15 October 2008

dry bones

For lunch, I consumed too much. The cooks made some sort of snazzy Ellio's pizza. At least the mushrooms atop the cheese made consuming the crap (that it was) worth it. And I say crap because, nutritionally, it was no good for me- not crap in a snooty way. Because I think of the clay disks the mothers in Haiti are serving their sons and daughters and that makes me sad and makes me ill.

But for some reason I live in a town with multiple grocery stores and I have a bank account with my name on it. I have a wooden front door with a peep hole and deadbolt, and even a bed full of down and warmth. A fridge, overflowing with food, and a medicine cabinet full of remedy. I own multiple jackets and numerous shoes and my closets are full of things like cameras, quilts and even extra bedding.

But in my heart, deep down, I wrestle with all my stuff- all the demons that whisper. I gaze 'round the cluttered walls and covered floors of my apartment and know that I am not worthy to possess such wealth, such lifestyle.

I don't desire a body of lace and ruffles. Not to be clothed with frill and rape me of my frock. The lines on my face and the freckles spattered about- they are just skin, colors, temporal. My hair falls out, more and more, every day. And this twenty eight year old body will one day rest beneath the earth in soiled grave. And the worms, vermin and creatures beneath will eventually make their way to mine. And this pretty girl will be rotten flesh. A pile of nothing. A stack of bones and a string of pearls.

06 October 2008

angels and demons

A creamy, white, sugary substance oozes down the teapot resting atop my desk- almost as if the kettle has burped and vomited the white goo. Kind of like demons, frothing at the mouth, desperate to woo one more.

I miss the way my dog would comfort me when I'd come into the kitchen, slump onto the cool tile floor and begin to weep. He'd hear my soft cries from whatever part of the house he was lying and make his way to mine. Then, beneath me, like an old afghan, he'd catch my tears in his old sagging ears. He couldn't understand the words I uttered. He didn't know who had hurt me or who I had hurt, but he'd sop my pain, all the same, just like water quenching his thirst. And I would carry on, hunched over, damp by my tears and smeared in his drool.

I heard of a war this morning on the radio. The demons and the angels. And sadly, the demons took the lead. A man, in rage, fired at another, and the shot man's daughter saw her father slump to his death. And the blood gushed from his head, like a quiet babbling brook, and the little child, stung by death, hit those demons head on.

The archangel applauded while the onlookers paused, and a flock overhead told of love once said. "Greater is he, and greater he'll be, in the dark hours of death and the bright hours of morn." And echoes were heard throughout all the land, and the creatures screamed out, "death be not shed!" But ripped her he did, with his sash of defeat, and the lamb was then shorn with a deafening bleat. Flesh and white bones, weeping forlorn, the child and the lamb crucified dead.

But Messiah came forth and onto the scene, and spoke to those present, and to those not seen. "My boy and my girl, my son and my own. I, Alpha Omega, hear all but one plea. Now come to my side and drink of my wine. Taste and but see, 'twas broken for thee. Now dine in my love and drink of my river, not to pass by gift or the giver. This chalice I raise, offers life to the dead, a labyrinth of loss will be no more tread."

And when I had stopped, with my bout of great tears, my face shone of mercy and was filled with his ease. Wrapped 'round in thick wool, the naked sheep cries, the child of the father, deceived by his lies. An orphan, a dog, a soon to be liver, this life but a midst, is only a sliver. For tomorrow will dawn, the newness of day, conquering demons and traipsing o'er graves. In victory, white, blinding set sail, onward to heaven, forever prevail!

02 September 2008


At first it was just the one cop car. No one was in the back, and he didn't have any handcuffs, so I just watched from my open bedroom window. I tried to listen as he dispatched to the other cop that was on his way. Then, almost immediately, he was finished with his words and the other cop was in the drive.

Seeing the two cops in the drive caused my heart to palpitate just a bit. So, I closed the door to my apartment and made my way down the carpeted stairs to the first floor porch. Opening the old screen door, I was met with a familiar face. I could have been mistaken, but the blond haired, blue eyed officer looked remarkably similar to the officer that ticketed me the other week.

Any way, he looked at me with his spiked hair and starched shirt and asked me if I knew where apartment "hay" was. I answered, "A? As in number one?" "No," he said, "Number eight." "Oh...number eight," I said back. Because he had the gun, I complied with his request and told him just how to get to apartment number eight. "You see, you take this winding staircase, all the way to the top..."

And that was the last we spoke- the cop with the spiked hair and I.

I heard him and the other cop questioning the old lady up on the third floor. But it was rather unfortunate; the carpeted stairs proved to be excellent insulators and made eavesdropping nearly impossible. I could barely make out any details of the conversation. All I could hear was Mary, the old lady, defending herself.

I liked Mary. Her and I used to sit out on the porch- on hot summer nights, sipping cool tea, just waiting for the sun to drop. One night we watched a great storm come in from the east. The wind picked up and the rain soaked us to the bone. The popcorn we shared lost its flavor and soon we did too, and that was when we said good night. It was a night I'll never forget.

Once, I even gave Mary a ride to the library. "You going to Wayne?" she asked. I wasn't, but I wanted to give her a ride in my air conditioned car. It was the peak of summer and blazing hot and all I could think of was Mary and the heat- and just that the two didn't mix. She thanked me for the ride and I waved goodbye.

I've often thought about her story. I wonder about Harry and John too. John is the most frightening of the three on the third floor. He's got this laugh- this most godawful, creepy laugh. And, even though he's in his sixties, he asks me to do things with him- like almost dates. "Hey Laura, if you want to go to a movie later," or "Hey Laura, some time we should get coffee," or "Hey Laura, I'm walking to town later."


I could hear the voices from the third floor growing louder. There was shuffling directly above me and soon a quiet stampede flowed down the winding corridor. Near embracing the old wooden door, I pressed up against its peephole for a silent view. I watched the first cop pass, then the second.

Next thing I knew it was the afternoon, and Mary's metal bed frame was out on the porch. I locked the front door to my apartment and turned up the music. Pacing back and forth I turned the dial a few more notches. But, still, through the vent his laughter oozed- until the walls of my apartment had had its fill. And drunken with guilt she stepped outside and offered her hands up high.

26 August 2008


It's been quite a while since I've posted. So I figured today, the day I killed the bird, would be a good time to write.

I told a friend earlier that I had killed a bird. He reminded me of the children. Just after dusk, they'd gather 'round and ask Mama, "Where's Papa? Surely he isn't out still searching for worms?" Sadly, those worms won't be making it to the dinner table. No, that beautiful ruby bird's gone and smashed itself into the pavement. I was reminded of that deadly sin, gluttony, when my tires crushed it's fragile body. Why'd the darn thing have to be so consumed with the rigor mortis roadkill when my death machine of a car happened upon it?

I've had countess close calls prior to today's mournful event, but never, never has the darn bird stayed on the road. Always, at the last second it gloriously chants out, "I'll fly away..." and phew, just in the neck of time, peering out my rear view, I see the bird free in the air and near diminished- a speck to the eye.

But not today. The salmon feathered bird was gnawing away, apparently forgetting it had perched itself on a highly traveled and winding country road, and the bits of whatever it was prying off the pavement must have been that tasty. That tasty that it cost him his life. Think of the children.

But, I'll admit, about four minutes after the deadly encounter, I was sipping on my doppio espresso and had forgotten entirely about my murder. I suppose my chance meeting with gluttony, or perhaps greed, freed my mind from the guilt of my killing. Oh well, tomorrow's another day. And, sadly, there's many a more rubies in the rough.

07 July 2008


i met a great old man yesterday. his name was lester. i was driving through maryland, going faster than i should have been, but there's just something about winding country roads on hot summer days that makes your right foot heavy and thus the wind on your face and all through your hair indeed all the more glorious.

in my speed, i passed an old white farmhouse that had a sign propped in the front yard next to a table full of glassware that said "FREE." so, i pulled into the nearest driveway and turned around to head back to the table full of glassware and the sign that said free. and that's where i met lester. i hope that some day i'm like lester, or that my husband, widowed or not, is in some way like him too.

he had beautiful, countless wrinkles all over his face like a map of the state of virginia. rivulets and winding roads, his face with elevated plains. he was suntanned like sweet caramel and wore a crown of bleached white hair. he moved slow but with strength. he had a crisp white undershirt on with suspenders by his side, chashew colored trousers and his work boots nice and worn like an old thatched roof.

he had lived there in that house about forty years and in that small town since the 1930's. he had two wives over the course of his life- both now deceased. they had each shared some time, living with him in that beautiful old white farmhouse.

his smile drew you in and his gentle voice was a near whisper. his daughter lived in another white house across the road from his. i glanced back as he told me this, thought maybe i'd see her on the porch, but had no such luck. he had a ball cap on with a large visor that stood tall atop his wispy white hair. lester. you just don't hear names like that these days.

i found some beautiful dishes on the long tables that his belongings were strewn across. when i first pulled into his drive he was "just setting up shop," peeling back tarp after tarp, going from one table to the next, uncovering all the dishes that had been hidden from the rain that was on-again off-again all week. he said that the large sign boasting "FREE" always got the people to stop- just like it did me. i told him he had a great collection of tools. some were new but mostly old. it's the old things that have such beauty and character. just like lester- old and full of stories.

while i walked along the tables, filling my plastic grocery bag, lester sat on a covered bench swing next to the table that held most of his tools. he told me that most of the items for sale he had acquired at auctions. he brought a crystal dish over to me still donning its old price tag; $25.00, it said. lester showed me the only blemish he could find, said his eyes were too weak to see it, but his fingers had come across it. gently caressing the rim of the bowl he came to the small chip of missing glass and had me feel its roughness. he probably would have asked a quarter for it. he seemed to be a very generous man.

i wondered how much stuff he had inside. if his whole house was full of nick knacks and trinkets from living life the past seventy years there- with his first wife and second, the scampering of children in and out, young and now grown. living on in that house and a bed once shared. i wondered how often his daughter, in the other white house, came for a visit or maybe to share some dinner. if i lived near those white houses, i'd like to think that i'd sit out there a lot with lester. we'd sit out on the bench swing and watch the sun set and hear the birds sing. and maybe i'd remind him of his former wife, or a daughter, or maybe just that there is still love to be held and life to be shared.

after i gave him five dollars, we exchanged goodbyes and waved a few times. and as i pulled back onto that winding country road, with the windows down and my hair all a mess, lester waved once more. glancing back, the sunlight became surreal and quite suddenly soothing. and picking up speed, the white house out of sight, i simply thanked God for this humble introduction.

17 June 2008

green and red

a strand of white pearls hangs just above the neckline of my ivory shirt, accentuating the femininity of my neck and jutting bones, and looking in the mirror, i almost pass me by. today in the paper i read about a former classmate of mine who died just a few days ago. 28 and already gone to meet her maker.

death always seems to put things in perspective. i am astounded at how much time i waste thinking of myself, living this life, with my numbered days. it could very well be me that's next in the obituary column. her name was laura too.

there is nothing morbid about the realisation that God alone knows our day of death, our deathday. more so, i believe this is health. if only i could learn of this well being, live this health, rise from these dry bones and be the fisher i was born to be.

there is something glorious about dangling your feet in the cool summer water on a hot summer day. the splintered deck rubs against your thighs and repositioning yourself frequently so as not to sweat yourself stuck, your body burns from the rays. and you cast out a line and hope that the lure goes deep, but only time will tell. the sun blinds you and near hypnotizes you, and soon, the bobber looks there, gone, there, gone. or is it just the sun?

but sooner or later clarity arises. you either have an igloo full of life, or an igloo gone and dead. and i just pray i'm alive when i die.