From sleep she hears him, strokes of the axe, flesh-stone-iron-oak, then pausing—something restful in the rushing snow, cold eye of the haft. When she peers outside, the sky is a great tent being struck, he at its center, swinging. Bells he can’t hear, snowbound bells.
Printed carefully on the back of an envelope, Gone to sea. And she does go, by bus, all the way to Okracoke in a day. La Mer, she says to herself slowly, its cold foam soaking her shoes. Dips her apple in salt. At dusk the dunes make a warm bed covered with scarlet flowers locals call Nosebleed.
Long-sleeved, in this heat, so the grandchildren won’t see. They blow across their bottles playing Sousa. Their father, flimsy at birth, cries out in a man’s voice. One by one, from her bosom, she dispenses lemon drops wrapped in tissue paper. Downriver, the fireworks flicker softly like a candlefly revealing the foothills beyond.
Stephen Knauth | Frederica >> Contents | Mudlark No. 45 (2012)