Calling home

“What else?” She asks.
For the second time today.

The first time, 
I’d stood by the window
basking, in the stream
shooting from the horizon.
Full in my face,
filling untinted glasses
with blinding brightness
and warmth.

Like a steam towel on an airplane
soothing, it sat on my eyes,
closed, I’d surrendered
just a little longer…
almost forgetting
mother’s “what else?”
I’d jerked at her shakiness
“Hmm… Nothing else, ma.”

Clicking off,
promising another call
in eight hours.

As a pebble in a stream,
tumbling, tumulting at tasks 
delayed progress
time flew in my world—
froze in hers.
As empty picture frame, 
life hung around.
Hollow in the middle, 
nothingness spread wide,
countable greys now blacks
once page-flipping fingers
frayed, shiver at a touch
shrill soccer mum’s throat
now trill in weak trebles.

“What else?” she asks me.
Stumped, “How’s the weather ma?”
I repeat.

In search indeed

Scarred
by years,
once shiny face
browning, peeling away
as charred pepper.

Awaiting
while winter dews
seeping through
sweeping hope
of restoration.

Solitude
the trusted advisor
a partner in part
on date nights 
out in the open.

Breathing
coldness piercing
ornament for the porch
a hollow cage
in search of bird.


Inspired by:

“I am a cage, in search of a bird.”

Franz Kafka

The woman who knitted

woman knitting

“Oh, it’s just nice to get away from all the noise at home. You know?” Her eyebrows had curved up while her fingers paused in mid air. I’d nodded politely even though I couldn’t possibly fathom why someone would go to the library every day just so they can knit. 

I’d just started working in the library when I met her for the first time. The curious stares never perturbed her, and neither did the incessant shuffling of feet.

People came and went. Since only a handful of them regularly spent time reading, the knitting lady soon became an icon you couldn’t miss.

In the following years, I spent occasions wondering what drove her away from home and into the library. I mean, I’d go when I wanted a book. Or to work or to attend a meeting. Theories constantly whirled my head—perhaps her neighbours were loud and rowdy, I mused turning on my cassette player at home one night. Or maybe her husband was a messy gardener leaving dirt marks all around the house to annoy her. Or perhaps, I wondered remembering my own grandparents, her grandkids were a pain in the ass and a torment to the ears.

But I never asked her.

“I should’ve,” I wrote in my diary the night after her funeral.

It wasn’t people that’d driven her way from home. It was lack there of.


Photo credit: Imani on Unsplash.