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The Mourning After


 

The Mourning After

 

Rounding the corner of the east side of the house,

I pause, cradling the remainder of last year’s canned

Peaches in the crook of my left arm, trying to recall

Whether or not I latched the cellar door.

 

An impenetrable fog arrives mere yards from my

Front steps, curling its milky fingers around the

Girth of the maple tree, and snaking its way in and

Out of the gaps of the faded picket fence.

 

Such a spectacle I have never witnessed;

Only have I heard the rambling of old wives’ tales

And fables, invented to frighten children, describe

The likes of this eerie phenomenon unfolding afore me.

 

I never believed in much of anything, that is, until

Burt happened along my path, opening my eyes

To more than my carefully crafted and painfully

Boring existence, and introducing me to true love.

 

His passing cripples my will to search for joy,

Even after seven years. I’ll not love again, and

I’ll certainly not entertain the thought of those old stories.

There’s cobbler to be made before ironing the linens.

 

The sound of a breaking branch startles me out of my

Brooding, and I set the peaches on the porch railing.

Something akin to curiosity taunts my mind as

A bit of dread boils in the pit of my belly.

 

Mediation between the two is futile.

 

My steps mark half-time to the exaggerated beating

Of my heart, and I become completely entangled

In the phantom mist before I can rescind my

Foolhardiness and return to the tasks at hand.

 

I stand imperceptive and trembling inside the

Wasteland of my mind, where every fear and

Irrationality once commonplace to me has returned

To pay homage to my unsettled state of the soul.

 

I am frightened, frightened to the core of my bones.

 

If, by chance this is the portrait of my finality,

I suppose it will be of little consequence to

Anyone other than myself.

 

Who will lament me?

 

My thoughts are waylaid by a sudden and unexpected

Retreat of the fog, and to my surprise, I have traveled

No further than my own frivolous notions.

 

Shaking off my distress and scolding myself for

Entertaining such a rampant imagination, I gather

The peaches, looking back once before pushing

Open the front door, confirming my momentary delusion.

 

With dessert in the oven and the laundry attended,

I retire to my fireside perch, magazine in hand, idly

Perusing the glossy images, though the dim light from the

Blaze seems to distort them into a mockery of happier days.

 

The wind has picked up outside, and my joints foretell

The coming of rain or perhaps an early season snow.

 

The scent of sweetness and spice mingling through the house

Brings me to my feet only seconds before the timer sounds.

I’ve a notion to skip my leftover roast, and simply indulge

Myself before the cobbler has time to completely cool.

 

Aside from the occasional snap from the fireplace and

The final gurgle of the coffee pot, there is silence.

Cradling the warm, stoneware mug, I stare off into

The distance, belly full and heart ever-empty.

 

My trance is broken, and my eyes widen in disbelief

As the chair to my right slides back a few inches.

 

I cannot see him, but I know it is Burt.

 

Tears flow without constraint, and the air around me

Is laced with every regret, every longing and every

Demon that has taunted me since the day

My husband was laid to eternal rest.

 

Cradling my head between my open palms,

I cry out for him, hoping for the impossible,

Only to have my prayers answered in the most

Surreal of manners…..

 

I feel the nostalgic warmth of his arms wrapped

Tightly around my shoulders from behind, but fear

Binds me from turning to face what could

Only be a fantasy born of my incessant grief.

 

And then, the darkness is conquered by blinding light,

And my heart reassembles all its littered pieces….

 

 

It was the following day when Carolyn’s body was found,

Beside two broken jars of peaches on her own front lawn, and

With a cast of unalloyed contentment upon her pretty, pale face.

 

 

Tina Jordan


Tina Jordan lives in NW North Carolina, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The author of three self-published collections of poetry and prose, she has recently been featured in Pomme Journal and The Stray Branch. She draws inspiration from both dreams and reality, and her writing is typically touched with a hint of dark romance.  An administrative assistant by day, she spends her free time enjoying the great outdoors, writing, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.



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1 Comments

  1. superb work. my first time reading this writer. quite taken.

    ReplyDelete