Call to Action
I leaned in to hear and leaned back to absorb. She placed the crinkly bundle on the table when I looked away. Just the two of us in the room; I'm not sure who was interviewing whom. If I hadn't looked closely, I would have thought it was trash and brushed it aside. Like the others had done, she said. One had picked it up in both hands, clapped and crushed it. That was not my nature. I unwrapped it gently. As the paper fell away, I turned it in the air. The feather changed colour in the light. The dried plant was delicate, close to dust. The twig was water worn. The stone was wrapped in thread. Not "what does it mean," she said, but "what do you hear." She pounded her chest and sang a long note. "And what will you do?"
Please. Sit on this bench. I protest it is too small; it will not bear my weight. But sitting is not only with the body. She says she once left part of her heart for a test. But, I say, it is only twigs and thread and feathers. Yes, she says, and life and line and lightness. A path to empathy. Please, she says. Just please.
Justice Washes Up
We walk on the shingle, feeling every pebble under bare feet. I can see the line stretching backward and forward, the sharp edge between wet wave and dry land. We have gritty hands and heavy pockets. She picks up a twig, then a stone. Each one, a story of exile. On the table, she reunites the family, creating a balance in small scale. A smell of spray and algae. On the wall, the shadows add to her poem with triangles and diamonds. Filled out in triplicate, submitted for inspection. But still, the children are missing. The sharp lines temporarily erased, waiting to be redrawn.
Joy in Every Little Moment
She removes a thread from my dress and winds it around her finger for later. There is movement everywhere. Lemons, berries, and grapes are loose on the wood table in her kitchen. My appetite sated with colour, I can only admire the fruit even as she bites a grape with sharp teeth. Threads of many colours wave to me in the breeze like hair, flowing from a tree I can't see. These are the notes, she says. She tears a piece of cardboard from a box, winds my thread around it, and passes it back to me. A present. The present.
Alisa Golden works with words, ink, and fibres and is the editor of Star 82 Review. She teaches writing, letterpress printing, and bookmaking around the San Francisco Bay Area. Her stories and poems have been published in Blink-Ink, Split Rock Review, Diagram, and Gone Lawn, among others. She is the author of Making Handmade Books. www.neverbook.com
The Ekphrastic Review
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