Monday, June 24, 2013

{Preview} Elihu Island

I sensed they began tangled.  A jungle of bitty hands and feet, translucent, growing side by side in their early sea.  It was so easy to imagine as I watched them romp about in their twin-four-year-old-skin.  Curling around each other like I might twirl my own hair.  Effortlessly, quiet.  And their laughter - high, clear, white - drew lines across the sky.  It scattered birds and pushed through the rustling hay like water - spilling everywhere.  I watched them stop, then close their eyes to know just where the other was.  I could almost see the thin invisible line between them.  Gossamer, beating.  Connecting the blur of their bare feet.  And rustling hair.  Connecting their endless stream.  One of faint cotton over bones light as sparrow's made for flying.  They were a tangle of fingers I couldn't shake the sight of - fragile yet strong - skimming clover and moss and milkweed.  They were a winding trail of honeysuckle torn from the vine.

We walked the island for two hours, edge to edge of steel gray sea.  They never looked for us once.  They had each other, and the secure eye of their mom.  Always watching, but never too close.  She let them breathe.  And unfold.  I saw Sarah's heart bright and true in that last light, as she let them just be.  I felt her taking in their smallness.  Drinking in their girlhood.  Bottling the feeling of loving them just as they are.  In that very moment.  In that very spot, where she wed eight years ago.  On Elihu.  

Friday, June 7, 2013


I keep my grandmother's apron rolled in a narrow ball.  Pilled, worn to a fray.  Furling edges.  Deep pockets with rows of flowers, orderly and tight.  I see my fingers from afar when I pull it out, and become loose in my own skin.  Sometimes all it takes is a touch to bring me back.  Brillo.  Olive oil.  Wooden cabinets with plastic liners.  Spearmint leaves, rosary beads and unwound tissues.  Memories roll around inside like huge steel balls.  Bumping my ribs and skin.  I am too small for the space they need.  They leave huge, soft bruises, black as night.  The memory of her table.  The sound of their TV.  The smell of peppers and skinned tomatoes.  I am little - my girl hands plunged in those apron pockets.  I am safe.  Unaware.  Full.  My hair is blowing in the wind, but I sit inside.  The sun is on my face, but I am at her kitchen table.  I hear nothing but birds and boiling water, and feel the warmth of her eyes on my skin.  The sound of her calling my name.  Her voice lands in my palms.  I've caught it like a sparrow.  

Now -- I look at my daughter.  Scan her smooth face, and her eyes, black as pools.  What memories will bring her back to me when I am gone?  What will wake her in the night?  What string will she swing for blindly, and find?  What will be the thread that leads her heart back to mine?

{honored to have this photo and writing be a part of THE CHORUS - a coming together of women artists' imagery and voice.  follow the link for other writings and photos on 'memory'}