Thursday, January 17, 2008

Little Girls Crossed Legs and Arms

(Part 1 of Hidden in this Picture)

At the neck starts the shadow - the leaves on the tree and the shade on the panels - but they start from the waist down. There are two of each -two, two and two - little girls crossed legs and arms. All hold hanker chiefs, one on each head, another wrapped around their fingers. One head turns and then two look bored but the lights are stretched tight the time that it counts. Shinbones stick out of a field of cabbages and boney knees show, because it's hard not to kneel when you are building fences. They swore they would help if I bought them boots and new jeans and we would stop when the wind turned. So we put down the bricks 'cause they mark the ground to where the fence should lay. Truth is, they're not fences, they're raised flower beds for the soot and the rain and the soil.

I use the hammer and one holds the post. Flinch. The first drop hits my neck but she doesn't notice. The second has her head in a book and the third, asleep at a knee. At the second drop, all eyes look up. My wife calls from the corner and they run with covered heads and words and inks that drip. I pick the hanker chief left hanging from a pocket and wipe my face. Closed eyes, beads fill my skin. Flowers won't be here 'til spring and the trees won't bear fruit for years. "You are coming back when we plant the roses."

The splinters are from the chair. It's just not ready.
"The flowers look good." We throw the bad fruit out in the front of the morning and carry the rest up to the house in the basket. "Some of it's not ripe yet." I twist and turn with sand paper in hand. Just one pair of mud boots by the door now, two umbrellas. The last arrives in the morning.



2 comments:

Stephanie said...

this is sad! but good, too. it's quiet.

carrie g said...

i love the first line. it puts the reader in the scene really nicely.

"I use the hammer and one holds the post. Flinch. The first drop hits my neck but she doesn't notice. The second has her head in a book and the third, asleep at a knee. At the second drop, all eyes look up."

this part is a bit confusing bc you are referring to both the girls and the hammer swings with numbers. try to clarify this somehow.

i also think you should aim to make the progression of time clearer. how, i do not know.