Wednesday 16 August 2023

Sunshine Enters like a Hesitant Guest by Steve Gerson, Earl Grey tea, weak from not steeping long enough


I’m alone in the room’s darkness. A hint of morning sunshine is seeping through the east window like a hesitant guest, but shadows surround me as I sit at my sewing table, shadows that bow me in doubt, in want, in need.


I’m focused on bobbins, thread, patterns, minutiae, my life small, as repetitive as the sewing needle grinding within its guard, Sisyphean.  The bobbin has bunched again, from too much tension, too many threads balling and knotted, and everything is uneven, unwinding.


It’s hard to forget what’s been said . . . or remember words I never stated.


I sipped my weak Earl Grey and stared at the fallow field outside my window.  Kudzu vines are reclaiming the land, once verdant, once plowed and fecund, once worked by loving hands to secure a future.  We planted soybeans and corn, set out scarecrows with vibrant colors that waved in the spring breezes, and reaped and sowed and savored.  Then.


Where are they now, my family from once? 


Dan’s gone, of course, disease reclaiming our past, like the kudzu coiling, suffocating.  His cancer was a needle’s prick in my love, a scar that won’t heal, now bandaged on my arm like old age scabbing, failing to heal.


The kids are displaced, Dan Jr., wife Molly, and his children to Chicago, Sue Beth and her son (her ex-husband disclaimed, barely a mote sifting in stale air) to Seattle.  They write, now and sometimes, maybe Christmas or Thanksgiving.


“How’s the farm, Mom?”  “Abilene still hot in September?  Still cold in May?” 


No one visits. 


“It’s so far, Mom, especially with no direct flights to Kansas.”  “We’re pretty busy with our jobs, you know.”  “Money’s kind of tight right now.”  “Molly’s still peeved at what you said.”


Mostly, the house is quiet, except for crows cawing blackness in the fields and my sewing machine whirring like mice nibbling memories in dark corners. 


I could make little Georgie a cap for Seattle’s winter.  I could sew Mary a white blouse for her confirmation.   I could mail the presents, but I don’t have their addresses.  The clothing would sit on my bedstand with other loose threads.


The sun is rising outside my window, but I’m still alone in the room’s darkness, bowed by nothingness. 


About the auhtor 

Steve Gerson writes poetry and flash about life's dissonance. He has published in CafeLit, Panoplyzine, Crack the Spine, Vermilion, In Parentheses, and more, plus his chapbooks Once Planed Straight; Viral; and the soon to be published The 13th Floor: Step into Anxiety from Spartan Press. 

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