By Katie M. Moss
September 1, 2011
She sits in the corner, there.
A misty fog glazes her down-turned eyes.
A fly buzzes above her unkept hair,
And a smile grazes her parched lips.
She sees me looking now, catches my familiar gaze.
She gives me a hard stare.
I loved her once, in a different time, a different place.
She was better kept then. Her eyes still had the hope of years to come,
Lingering around the not yet wrinkled edges.
Tonight I can’t see the spark of memory in them.
The summer days, floating on that drawling Southern river,
The nights filled with fireflies and moonshine.
Things were simple, then.
She left for Memphis once, a long time ago.
She was gone for two months.
No one ever knew what she did, who she met.
But when she came back, she wasn’t the same.
Sometimes she would hum strange melodies,
A faraway look in her eyes as she stirred the dinners she made for me,
Once I finished in the shipyard.
I liked her best at those times.
She was a different woman then, mysterious even.
Her brows would knit together, and I couldn’t decide if she was trying to remember,
Or if she desperately wanted to forget.
Tonight I can still taste those homemade pies
She filled them with fruits so sweet,
I almost couldn’t bear it.
She’d slowly kiss me after,
The taste lingering on her tongue.
Then we’d slide into the front porch swing.
Our motions swaying in tandem with the wind, the trees.
We’d stay outside until sunrise,
Until I carried her inside.
She clung to me at those times,
In the same way she clings to that dirty, old suitcase now.
I nod at her, a nod of knowing
She blinks her eyes.
They clear, only for a moment, as if the cobwebs of the present are broken,
And she can live clearly in the world of her past.
She walks over to me,
Steady, determined, stone-faced.
She says, “Funny thing, seeing you on a day like today.”
I shrug. “Life’s funny like that,” I say.
“You going somewhere?”
“Yeah. Thought I’d take the next train. To Memphis.”
She shifts her feet,
Glances down at her scuffed-toe shoes.
She begins to walk away, takes a look back.
“I’m sorry,” she says, “that you never knew me.
That you never knew Memphis.”
I shrug again.
She doesn’t know I’m going there today.
She takes ten determined steps,
Counts them out in a whisper,
Her voice trembling.
“I’m sorry,” she says again,
As she steps onto the tracks.
The 10:40 train to Memphis arrived right on time.
She went right along with it, as she hummed a little tune.
(Found @ TerraGalleria.com)