My Mother Contributes to Force and Reaction
Not my bird’s nest, she said to the young real estate agent on an errand for an unnamed buyer, sun tanning her skin as she reclined with an issue of Vogue or Time on her deck in the small town named for a Celtic paradise for the knights of the roundtable. No one else was there, and besides, it was her decision, the house in her name. Just that weekend when we were all there, flocks of tired and talkative passerines had lined the telephone wires, roof edge, deck railings and shrub pine tips to change feathers. House sparrows, marsh wrens, pine siskins? Could hardly see out to the brushstroke sea in its dark September hue, its arching olive and ruffling salt breakers.
Vulnerable, she was, but in the future tense, not with this messenger her nephew’s age. Nestled in the peaceful Tuesday, with gusts scattering things months away, she’d not meant to receive anyone in her bathing suit, though it had its own skirt, a delicate wave of Lycra below her waist fluttering free of its modus to stretch. She was not like the rest of us who actually body surfed the coastal Atlantic, but she did like negative ions lifting the mood. What music was playing? Not Donna Summer’s heavy breathing wafting over the dunes to the neighbors in the years that was embarrassing. Maybe Anne Murray, Willie Nelson, Django Reinhardt spinning on my old high school stereo, the future tense of which was a stylus needle in a melted plastic shell.
That refusal to let go of something someone else wanted — beachfront property, not the graying brown mid-c mod built on the sand like a plus sign — brought a gale force wind to our lives, disheveling it and leaving it that way, as we dispersed from the ash. How was it that she had no right in what was hers? The next migration birds arrived to moult on the kinesis of invisible house reduced to kindling.
Amy Holman is a poet, literary consultant and artist. The author of five poetry books, including the prizewinning chapbook, Wait for Me, I’m Gone, from Dream Horse Press, and the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window, from Somondoco Press, her poems have recently appeared in The 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly, The Chiron Review, and The Night Heron Barks.
The Ekphrastic Review
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