A thin red thread zig zaggy hangs from the hem of your favorite skirt or cuff of your best blazer. You are careful, But the whole garment starts to unravel. You bring the skirt to a seamstress or the blazer to a tailor. They are busy. So many skirts and blazers to repair. You must wait.
When you do get to pick up your favorite skirt, from afar it looks perfect. Just like new. You try on your best blazer. Just visiting an old friend. Maybe the thread color doesn’t quite match. Maybe you notice a tiny pucker or pull. That favorite skirt or best blazer is not like new. It is not as perfect as you thought.
You can’t remember if the skirt was ever that great. You can’t remember if the sleeves of the blazer were always a tad long. Maybe you imagined your favorites. Maybe you didn’t. Maybe the skirt was the right length. Just below the knees. Maybe the blazer was the perfect fit. Across the shoulders. Maybe you are over thinking the whole zig zaggy thread problem.
Wear the skirt. After all, you are told, this was an expert seamstress. Wear the blazer. After all, you are told, this was the best tailor in the city.
You realize you may never feel exactly the same again about your favorite skirt or best blazer. But this is what you have to work with. A thin red thread hanging off a hem.
Hidden in this desk
Hidden in the drawer of this desk
Hidden in Ulysses
Hidden in a folder,
because I was told to back up my “hidden”
Hidden in the cloud,
seemingly irretrievable, but that’s for another time
is a rough draft.
This draft will stay
In the desk
In the drawer
In a folder
In the cloud
A narrow slate sidewalk
covered in pine needles
led to the side door of my grandmother’s house.
Old house, old neighborhood
wrapped in misshapen sidewalk heaved from frost
still with a few iron horse hitching posts.
There was a smell at the side door
pervasive, persistant, earthy
lingering wordless in the shade.
Purple lilacs in the spring
pale blue iris in June
English ivy up the house
Periwinkle, leaves so dark they looked black
grape vines for birds to pluck fruit in the fall
summer window box of red and white petunias
The smell was none of these
no lilacs or iris or petunias ever
smelled this old.
the month of the damned
in western New York.
I couldn’t stand it any longer
the unending gloom must have forced me to ask
what is that smell?
What is that smell under this tree that surely lost needles and cones far exceeding the rate it could replace them, next to the wrought iron fence, between the houses, in perpetual shade among all the old that I had the capacity to imagine.