Bio Note: I taught through California Poets in the Schools, received several CAC grants and taught poetry workshops through the William James Association’s Prison Arts Program. My third poetry book Cathedral of the Hand published 2016 by Finishing Line Press. Four time Pushcart nominee. MFA from Vermont College.
There once was a girl who had no waist. She held up her skirt with bobby pins, so, her mother made plaid pinafores for her but the girl didn’t approve of apron-like garments, traded them with girlfriends or stuffed them in the school locker. Her mother, chagrined, never understood where the pinafores disappeared. Quite out of desperation her mom attached alarms in the hems of said pinafores to announce her daughter’s scandalous behavior. The daughter, sensing something amiss, unstitched the hems, took the alarms and sewed them into her mother’s clothes. She always wanted to alarm her, to make her, for once, see her.
The Easel, the Leather Coat & the Blue Grass Perfume
Which was given first, who remembers? It was Christmas and the house demurred. Hardly a wisp of fresh air eked through, so you, my Then Husband, pinched open a window, said let’s go cut us a tree. Into the woods of Vermont near Huntington, I followed you or was it the ax I followed? Its blade shone against snowdrifts, a sinister smile along its edge, and ahead, snow flecked rows of balsam firs. You ungloved your hand, leaned into the ax. “How about this one?” I nodded yes. It didn’t take long to fell the tree and we slogged back to our car, our roped fir sledding behind. Once home, you sawed boards, nailed them to the balsam’s base, stood our tree upright in our college apartment. We made decorations from construction paper, an angel from cotton balls. All the while I mourned our young age, a child on the way; it seemed I’d come to life’s end. You stood on a stepstool, latched our angel on the fir’s top plume. So much regret, but when I left, I didn’t leave anything behind. Who opened first? I no longer recall my gifts to you. At a friend’s, you’d made me an easel of pine. So often, I’ve tried to paint you, to fix you firm in mind. The leather coat went to the thrift. I no longer wear perfume.
©2020 Dianna MacKinnon Henning
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