Bio Note: I’ve had several different careers in the arts: textile and clothing designer, restaurant critic (best job ever!), fashion editor, and I now teach poetry and short fiction at The Poetry Barn and Writers.com. I’m a transplanted city person learning to love country living. My poetry and short fiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including The Best Small Fictions 2020 (spotlighted story) and 2016, will soon appear in Rattle. I’m the author of Mall Flower and Beautiful Raft.
For weeks after his surgery, toes reset and entombed, my husband, who never stops doing, never sits, sat. No pain, just hours in a chair, a totem of books, news quieted to a drone. I’d pass him on my way to the kitchen, push his scooter from my path. I thought of him as Humpty Dumpty, told myself he was fine. I awoke to discover him sitting, back hard against the cold bedroom wall, hand pressing his side as if stopping an unspooling seam. What? I had said. What’s wrong? I allowed his lies of sleeplessness. I couldn’t see the suffering of the man who grew a garden— Jersey reds, sungolds, beans spilling from vines like green rain, that fed us, and the deer, and great drifts of bees. But no lie could change the color of his skin, bleached to bone on the morning drive to the hospital. He said the X-rays were almost beautiful: the sturdy rope of spine, dark wings of lungs, each a host to a single blood clot, a gray pearl that could have—but didn’t— take him from me.
©2022 Tina Barry
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