Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Small Portraits

A pure blue canvas. This winter sky stretched taut above the sprawling prairie city. She always thought it was the perfect sky. The city was coloured in yellow and orange, and the granite-green of the river was a swift ribbon over rocks capped with tiny snow hats. They say, if you wait five minutes in this city the weather will change. Those two weeks of October heat meant bare arms and sunglasses, and the sun glared on the padlocked patio of the nursing home. Her mother is a poet. Her fragmented brain cells call up wondrous words. They fall out of her mouth amongst broken teeth. This stoic elder is travelling slowly, hunched over her walker. The wheels push into the polished corridor. Her daughter pointed out the beauty of the sun, as though the leaves were on fire. Then the poetry. "Look at that fir tree laden with snow." There was no winter, there. But that was her poem. A snowy image, and she believed in it. Who would not want to see such a scene and instantly forget the row of vinyl chairs beneath the window, and the trail of spilled juice drops dotting the linoleum tiles? Who would not choose that beauty over the tartan cotton bibs tied around the necks of each resident at every meal, or the bafflement over the location of your own bed, as though you might wander forever looking, or a sea of forgettable faces? Only seconds to not remember. The daughter loved the words and phrases. They were 98 year old gems. "I put my smartness in my pocket and left it there."...and..."I'm a stupid cupid!" That poem came with a burst of laughter. Here in this city of the daughter's youth, the sun is now a blur; a ghost sun trying hard to be visible. There were signs placed beneath buildings warning of falling ice. She saw the melting icicles and the sidewalks shiny with the wet. Wait five minutes. Want five minutes for the fragile brain to try to remember. It forgets everything but sheer poetry.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claudia Anne  October 30  2013

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