East Coast of the U.S. of A. Overcast, chilly, at noon it seems as though it’s nearly day’s end. The rain turns to a drizzle, I find it’s easier to rake leaves and stow them in the brown paper leaf bags, I’m not concerned someone will see me in my black and white flannel p.j.bottoms, the ones that have a matching Ruth Bader Ginsburg top, though that’s well hidden under my fleece, a nine-year old Polartec made in U.S.A. that’s my bed jacket, my go-to-yoga-class wrap over my t-shirt, my crawl half under the bed and pull out the dust bunnies uniform. Black, curly like a poodle’s coat, $19.99 that year I found it at a discount store. As I rake oak leaves big as dinner plates, as I clip the ornamental grasses and twist them so they coil in the leaf bags, I think of Carol, dead these five years. She would have read my book* she would have pre-ordered copies for her friends at the little school where she was the librarian, she would have gone yarn shopping with me today, anywhere but the malls, the big box stores, the crowds. We’d have tea and talk about our sons. She’d tell me not to worry about the election, that we’d been through a lot and could survive this, that there are people worse off than we think we are, by far, to remember that. Stop coming around here today, Carol, I think I want to focus on the season of winter, about to descend on us, I want to cut these grasses down and weed the common grass and mountain laurel out of the middle of each miscanthus, I want to stuff these sharp fronds into the sodden bags so I can haul them out to the curb Monday night for the last yard waste pickup till spring.
Spring, I think. For some reason, I think of Hamlet, I imagine women playing all the roles, breasts bound, I think of how I love the play. Now is the winter of our discontent. No, wait, that’s Richard III, hunchback, the villain. Hamlet, the rest is silence. The rain has stopped. I drag the bag full of ornamental grasses down the hill behind the garage, stack it with its fellows against the stone wall. Tomorrow I might string the Christmas lights in the magnolia tree and along the handrail to the front porch. Advent: Veni, veni Emmanuel.
- Baltimore Girls, a poetry collection, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press, available for pre-order now through January 6, 2017, at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/baltimore-girls-by-lynne-viti/