Sixty Seconds of Rain
What was once routine became difficult and unknown. Falling asleep, waking up, watching movies with friends, going out with my boyfriend, working as a cashier – simple tasks seemed impossible. In a year, three people I loved died—here one minute and gone the next. With a sudden flash, a thunderstorm came and went, taking everything I had known. Sixty seconds turned into minutes, which turned into weeks, months, until a year had passed and I had no idea where it had gone. I wished I could get each moment back but knew that what was once my normal life was forever gone.
As I give my parents a kiss goodnight and walk up to bed, I hear the wailing noise of an old-fashioned alarm clock going off. It had gone off ten minutes prior but was snoozed, and now it continues until my mother finally walks into her bedroom and wakes up my father. Protesting for lack of sleep, he rolls out of bed. He shuffles out of the bedroom, his old man slippers scuffing the floor, his half-opened eyes illustrating his fatigue and restlessness. As his eyes adjust to the light and my mother’s freshly brewed coffee, his sense of awareness improves. He showers quickly and finishes two cups of coffee before filling his to-go mug with a third dose of caffeine. Despite the fact that the women of the house are ready for bed, our only male presence makes his way to work, calling out the customary “I love you” to the house and putting a force field of protection—the alarm system—on before he leaves.
BOOM. The thunder sounds, and a beam of lightning crosses the sky.
The call lasted no more than sixty seconds. With a shake in her voice and a tear in her eye, my mother said my grandfather had passed. My father’s father. I ended the call as I slid to the floor with my hands covering my face.
When I finally decided to make my way inside my dorm room, the room felt cold. The people inside felt distant, and my heart ached with an unthinkable pain. It was like having the wind knocked out of me while choking on something lodged in my throat. As I tried to breathe, my intake of air felt limited and my chest began to tighten as I recalled what she had said.
“Sam, you need to come to hospice, Grandpa passed away. Everyone else is already up here.” The man I had known my whole life, the one who would hug me so tight, tell me how beautiful I am, and yell at me when I played the wrong card in euchre was gone—no longer there to teach me about life in ways no one else could.
The rain continues to come down even harder, a torrential downpour. With each bucket of water hitting the ground, the sky brightens for a mere second, gone as quickly as it came. The deafening thunder quiets as the sound of my thoughts surface.
I go to school the next morning, as usual, and make my way through each class as the rain outside hits the concrete like a stampede running toward me. It feels as though the day has been extended on my behalf. My state is catastrophic: I woke up late, agitated from a poor night’s sleep, and I still look like I just rolled out of bed. My professor’s voice goes in one ear and out the other. The thunder is so loud; yet the ticking of the clock can be heard from across the room.
Making my way down the hall after class, I am struck by the memory of a different call. Again shaky-voiced and teary-eyed, my mother told me that my soccer coach of eleven years had died the night before, suddenly, at a sectional soccer game. I couldn’t comprehend it. The pain overwhelmed me: the ache in my heart, the lodge in my throat, and the pit in my stomach were unbearable. I couldn’t believe my coach, friend, and mentor would no longer be a presence in my life.
So much is going on outside: the rain, the thunder, the lightning—all in unison as if trying to warn me that something else is coming.
I stand in my kitchen, talking to my sister and our boyfriends. My mother is interrupted from her rambling about dinner plans when she gets a call that changes her pace. Her tone of voice tells me it’s happening again. The uneasy pain rushes through my body. My mother begins to speak and I immediately block out her words. I watch her lips move and feel my tears begin to fall. I sink into the chest of my boyfriend with the recognizable knot in my throat and I choke up. My grandmother, my father’s mother, has passed away.
I have a paralyzing feeling within, a pounding headache, but fight through it to come to my own consciousness. When my father finally gets up tonight, before he can even fully adjust and become aware of what is happening, I interrupt his ritual of getting ready for work by diving into his arms. The outpouring of emotions lifts a weight off my shoulders. The touch of life, comfort, acknowledgement of fragility comes from the simplicity of my father’s hug. The effortless embrace of my father becomes the cure for a bad day, a form of reassurance, and an outline of expression. As I hug my father, my senses return, and as my head rests on his chest and my arms slide around to his back, he brings both of his arms around me and grips them tight.
His original Old Spice deodorant escapes his shirt and makes its way to my nostrils, and even though he quit smoking a few years ago, the scent of Winston Light lingers. As I squeeze tighter he follows my lead and pulls me closer to provide the affectionate gesture back. We hold each other for as long as it takes to fully feel our embrace, when we let go we mutter the customary “I love you,” then the coffee smell makes its appearance and the night continues as we make our way off into our separate directions, realizing the weight of the rain has been lifted by the hug.
In a moment, you can say I love you, you can hug someone, and you can let someone know how much he or she means to you, but it only takes sixty seconds for everything to change. A life can also be taken, and the world can change, leaving you to mend the worst moments of your life. One minute, reality is there, but by the time a single drop of rain falls from the sky, it can disappear.
In loving memory of my grandparents, and my soccer coach and number one fan.
© Samantha Reynolds, 2014
Samantha Reynolds is a writer and journalist at St. John Fisher College. She has written for Fisher’s Cardinal Courier Newspaper, C Magazine, and Collegium Alumni Magazine.
Musing Thoughts and Meditations
I believe in the forces which propel the dust particles aimlessly around my room.
Shimmering and catching the light “just so” as they go by my lamp.
Do you think them settling on my bookshelf
or on my dirty laundry pile
is all part of God’s plan?
Hell, maybe it’s the crux of his plan.
Maybe his plan would fall to pieces, crumble entirely
should this dust particle not reach its holy destination
on my bookshelf.
Or perhaps there are things in this Universe
which simply don’t matter.
Things which are allowed certain freedoms
to be and to act this way or that, one way or the other
Hell, maybe there is free will?
Perhaps entropy and randomness
as employed by floating dust particles
are free of God’s grasp.
Maybe God doesn’t care about some things
(How intolerable for the devout!)
Or, maybe God is just powerless to stop
the dust on my bookshelf.
A mighty God indeed.
That such a small thing as a dust mote would shake its fist
and defy the supreme deity.
I always liked the David and Goliath story.
© Chris Wolfe, 2014
Van Morrison Sang "These Dreams of You"
I, the one who keeps fire in his soul
Who draws you closer
Hoping to one day share its warmth
Who tiptoes past all rough and unfinished surfaces
Secretly hoping you will hear me
Who silently gives great lectures
In the halls of your unconscious
Daring to hijack all your dreams and beliefs
And make them my own
Hoping one day you will recognize me as yourself
I who, at your command, will provide you the world
Parsing out all its depleting resources
Stripping them from God's ungrateful children
Knowing full well that at your whim I will have to turn back and face them
Tail between my legs
And give all of myself back.
© Patrick Doyle, 2014
Patrick Doyle is a writer and musician living in Los Angeles. He plays guitar in Rash, whose album, The Center of Gravity, is currently available through Carbon Records.
Our entire oratory
was a lack that night,
our last love a knot
of supernova gathering
like lost flame flashes
black and blank in a gesture
of sky only now we know
is a new something swelling
past that sudden us.
You were thinking alien ships
and I of nothing but sex
and my own unknowable
God. Did we forget
the long collapse
of our own false gravity,
our bodies a slow formation
embedded in our other bodies,
interstellar and existing
on the precipice of
indifference. I need to
tell you there is no other
star-map to chart the strange
continuance of yourself,
no Martian colony to gather
what remains of the fallen
giants, this past of you
and I the only kindling
to tower up like match lights
an effigy of after-image created
in your own what else
to spark and light and burn.
© Alicia Hoffman, 2014
Originally from Pennsylvania, Alicia Hoffman now lives, writes and teaches in Rochester, New York. She is the author of "Like Stardust in the Peat Moss"(Aldrich Press) and has had poems recently appear in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Orange Room Review, Right Hand Pointing, and elsewhere.
You Fell Forward and Back
Diving couldn’t save you when you fell
and your face crunched first on the pavement
and your body dropped like a doll
I didn’t know if that simple moment
that excruciating present would expand
with the whole montage of your life
but you rallied and kept your eyes open
in the bright which I blocked with the shade of my hands
while I talked to you enthusiastically, incessantly,
trying to hold you to your body with my words
and you stayed, you willed through every bump over the bay bridge
and as we swaddled you with love in the ER
your eyes were windows for the first time in memory
registering the wisdom and experience of 84 years
and not the decline into infancy on the other side.
© Carolyn Weber, 2014
Carolyn Weber is training to be an AMI Montessori teacher and writes in her spare time. She's a regular contributor to Canto Magazine.
Pitfall Ascension & Gratitude
Don't count the days
Since last weakness
Into an abysmal crevasse
What lies beneath
And wisdom attained
Knowing true strength
Mind body soul
Today tomorrow forever
Having slain what lurks
To old solid ground
Where the air
May be thin at times harsh
But bright is the light
Of future's beacon
With knowledge and experience
Thank the slain creatures
As those native to our land do
For if the lurkers and the abyss
Death and depths did not exist
You'd take for granted
Not fully appreciate life
Beauty without ugliness
Warmth without cold darkness
© Benjamin Bresee, 2014
Benjamin Deegan Bresee is a student of life who pours thoughts into the notes of his phone at 2 am. Often resembling poetry, unedited from the heart and mind, allowing him to sleep.
Several Struggles on Whatever Love Might Be
ALIEN VS PREDATOR
turning over above
a plain slope of peachfuzz
in the redolent eventide haze
the breath of dusk subjects me
to your quiet shoulders
broad in my memory
we are just so so this evening
that i wonder what love is
let's pretend we are a secret.
i know you from before
the lamb in the bible
so the lion prays god to turn away
such that i might truly show
the feast of my desire
you resemble plentitude
becoming whole, dripping from my chops like velvet from the buck's horns
full to bursting, becoming young
the flesh tears my favorite circle open on the sweet grass
glowing the exact murky darkness of hunger and fear
there is something inside of this
tossing in your violent feathered breasts
you know all the time
exactly how i need to be hurt.
hold the pillows by the ends and slam them together to burst the sin out
make the bed into sweet churning
batting lashes and lashings
eventually everything becomes fucking.
i died when you untied my knots
like a hero at sea
now what am i, an arrow?
hungry for the leaping prey of your wet tongue?
i didn't know boys had such pinkness
or men such viscid eyes and licks.
i will only ever hurt you twice
once, i'll cut you open
i'll get in
and once again i'll sew you closed
shake your watery body
break the string of pearls
loosen the melodic drops
and i'll stay
just to feel the clapping fall
SO MUCH FOR THE DHARMA
i never said take me with you
i said take me.
drop your dew
we can do this
what's left to be done at least
a bed of knives
blades of flowers
all that cutting
i’d like for you
and chop me up.
touch my flimsy wings
never fly again
so go on then
AND THEN I FORGOT HOW TO MAKE LOVE
when i get started missing you
you fetter me
so let me be
your beating wake
your bloodshot eyes
the chair you toss
the glass you break
the cops that show
the cuffs you wear
i'll be the cop car baby
lie down and let me be
the window you stomp out
with both your feet
i'll be your feet
let me be your sentence
the draft & whisper
the coo of doves through your cell window
legs of light
only one short tear stained note
crumpled and smoothed again
and its end
just let me be
the axe you grind
the tree you chop
the plucking stump
the finger you cut off
the soil that drinks up
what you feel when it's all gone
let me be sharp
your hot meat
let me be your tongue & teeth
your thirst in the cool pool of
time frittered in visions
all of what you spend that passes
the piss and shit and rotting gas
dreaming on your flyblown
crunch of leaves, someone's coming
let it be me
if you lack tonight
i'll be your gun
slip your sluggish finger in
know there is no safety
just let me be the pink
it's just us
the damp slow tossing in the night
that brings the hunger back
and when you roar across the sky
ripping the day a fresh young new one
wings of clay and ash, daggers
feathers devouring light in turns
screeching vengeance in the heat
let me be the heat
and the seeking scour
the piercing dive
descent that brings you down
let me be your down
and your coming
back to me
© Djesika Ilènn, 2014
Djesika Ilènn is a student of the visual, performance and healing arts. She is usually working on several things and most often in some sort of love or trouble. You can find her in her writing.
Three is a trinity;
So let there be mediocrity;
in this blue spruce tree that I present to thee.
And thereafter a peace may wash over this space.
Maybe I'll find my place, but in any case; I love you.
My dreams may die or fly through this dense bone and though the stone wall; up to a heavenly ear.
And all this pain and fear;
I see it is surreal.
Just an electromagnetic manifestation of pulses that I have made...mine, my mind.
I feel the bind; and I find that none of it is real.
I leave this state and find a new deal; again and again until there is nothing left of me to offer.
Never leave me
See what I see.
© Jess Hanselman, 2014
On the ribs of the river,
folding a white cloth's legs into yogic lotus,
I drowned the Buddha in a crying stream of ink,
wrung him out like any suppertime dishrag
over this porcupine's backbone
and flayed the thing of quills
beside a thirsty roll of ream. On my knees,
under the eaves, I led with a drop cap
and wrote what the woods could never notice.
Then, as before: water over stones. A single leaf.
© Jeff Handy, 2014
Jeff Handy is a recent graduate of SUNY Geneseo with a BA in Philosophy. His poetry has appeared in MiNT Magazine and Gandy Dancer and is forthcoming in the Southern Humanities Review. He currently lives in Austin, TX but can also be found on occasion at his blog.
A Short Story in Four Parts: Stuck in the Swamp
Kildare Dobbs discovered it was Tuesday quite by accident.
It had not been his first startling discovery which had come with the unrelenting, obnoxious, unforgiving buzz of the electric clock telling him it was morning, that he had a hangover, and that when he finally gathered about him the necessary courage to fumble around his pockets of his khaki trousers, he would find that he had spent a good deal more money last night than he could afford.
But he had been on a bender and wasn’t even sure what day of the week it actually was.
He discovered it was Tuesday by accident when he went to lunch at Torb’s.
He had a more than passing acquaintance with the blond-haired waitress with the too-wide space between her front teeth and she revealed the day of the week with a reminder that today’s special was barbequed spare ribs.
Torb’s always had barbequed spareribs for Tuesday’s special. He always had the Irish Stew instead.
That it was Tuesday not only determined his choice of lunch, it also determined his choice of dinner; where he was to have it, what he was to have and who he was to have it with.
Tuesday meant Marsha for dinner.
He pulled a cigarette from his shirt pocket and searched through the others for a light and found neither his brass Zippo lighter nor, for that matter, any money with which to pay for lunch. He asked the blond-haired girl named Jamie with the too-wide space between her front teeth for a pack of matches and a pen and wrote a check to cash, signing it on the back and watching the ink as it left his signature.
It would probably bounce, and they both knew that. But it was a game they had between them at times like this. She would cover it for him -- and redeem it later.
He had known Jamie since high school when she worked the breakfast shift at the Towne Diner on the corner of Market Street and now, she had the lunch shift at Torb’s.
Marsha for dinner.
It had been six months since her father had committed suicide – waking at 4:00 a.m. to milk the cows and instead, putting a forty-five caliber bullet through each one’s brain and then turning the gun on his own. A lot had happened since.
Kildare Dobbs and Marsha had escaped midway through her Father’s wake, much to the dismay of her Mother, Millicent, who wanted to show Daughter-Mother fealty to the mourners.
Marsha wanted none of that. What she wanted just then was Kildare Dobbs and they had driven down to the lake where, in the sand beyond the point where the deserted part of the beach was, they had made love – not once, not twice, but three times.
It wasn’t a surprise to either of them.
Kildare Dobbs had wanted to fuck Marsha Downey since the ninth grade. But she was a cheerleader and always more into guys who were into football. Dobbs was always into cars instead. And by the time they were seniors in high school, it became apparent that Charley Downey, Jr. was also into Marsha – in a big way.
The story would have ended when Marsha and Charley married the summer after high school, but instead came to a very real end when he came back from Vietnam in a flagged draped coffin.
Since graduation, except for one winter as wingman on the town’s snowplow with Charley Downey, Sr. -- Junior’s father -- Kildare Dobbs had been the sole reporter for the town’s weekly newspaper. And he had been Marsha’s shadow, admiration at a distance – always the best friend as she mourned.
But as they walked the beach hand in hand in the twilight of the day of her father’s funeral, it seemed quite natural when she came close to him, turned her soft, full lips upward towards him and asked “Are you going to kiss me now?”
He had and in an instant, the kiss had turned to exploring hands, clothes shedding around both of them.
Despite what everything thought – that she was bedding everyone in town since Downey’s death – in fact, she hadn’t had any sex in over 18 months.
Since that summer evening, they had spent most waking hours together and every evening that Kildare Dobbs wasn’t working late on a story and Marsha busied herself making plans for their future.
The Farm was gone.
Marsha’s mother had the farm auction within the month. And, she had broken ground on the new house she was building high up the hill within 60 days of the funeral.
Marsha had been the beneficiary on a $100,000 insurance policy her father had left her which caused the chasm between her and her Mother to grow ever wider as Millicent Belding thought all the money should go to her.
But the auction of 150 year-old farmhouse full of antiques, a working farm and 320 prime acres had brought her a tidy little sum of her own. Developers had been salivating over the land for years as a site for a new Shopping Mall and planned community and Millicent Belding had been more than happy to accommodate them.
“It was what Herman would have wanted,” she had said – at least ten times a day, thought Dobbs.
For her part, Marsha threw herself into planning her escape with Kildare Dobbs.
She had bought one-way plane tickets to Paris and they were scheduled to leave on New Year’s Day. She had found an apartment just off Rue des Ecole and within sight of Notre Dame Cathedral and down the street from the Sorbonne where Kildare Dobbs would write his novel and she could work as an English tutor for students at the University. Her planning was impeccable, right down to storing all of their furniture and clothes in October before winter really sets in.
“We’ll buy everything new,” she exclaimed one night after making love. “A new life in a new country. We’ll live in a new city with new friends, a new wardrobe of Paris clothes for me, and a new typewriter for you. And you can write and cook exotic French dinners for me while we sip new French wines and you write your novel.”
There was only one part of the plan that she was having a problem with, and Kildare Dobbs was thinking about it as he ate his stew.
Kildare Dobbs didn’t want to go.
Quite frankly, he liked his job at the paper. And he liked that he knew everyone in town and that most days, he could finish his work by noon and spend the rest of it either sailing, fishing, or drinking.
He didn’t speak French, he wasn’t much of a cook and he had only casually mentioned writing a novel once when he was riding with Mike Vickson when he got arrested for DWI by the local cops for driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Mike’s girlfriend then picked him up at 4:00 in the morning at the station. Mike was still drunk when they released him. He got into an argument with her, kicked her out of the car and then smashed it up while driving down the same street an hour later. He was dead by 6:00.
“That would make a good story,” Dobbs said at the bar the next afternoon.
But he hadn’t really meant it.
Now, as he finished his homemade stew, he began to check off the ingredients that would mean the usual evening with Marsha.
A flower, red and a rose-- from the florist on the corner. Champagne -- two bottles and while not particularly expensive -- expensive looking. A card from the grocery store -- more for show than for sentiment.
© Ken Warner, 2014
So many sleeping men.
Heads that bob and sway belie double breasted suits, wide flat caps, and unerring beards.
Mustaches bristle and prickle, silently asserting invulnerable masculinity and lack of need.
They do not know the heads to which they attach themselves swing heavily with the motion of the car.
The long man in the corner caves and hollows, his torso a poor support for his man costume,
Designed to distract.
I see you mouth, which hangs,
Sweet eye fluttering behind closed lids,
And I do not dare breathe for fear of breaking such magic, though we hurtle forward,
Enveloped in the desperate cacophonous disaccord of steel on steel.
I sit enraptured as their constructs, now sunk to the floor, roll about our feet,
Right side to left, as the train rounds each curve.
They are so mortal, though this they would deny, starting awake to avoid the catch.
I want to tell them they shall never be caught, they have formed their agents, built their machines.
And though their dreams crowd the seats in my car,
They may ride with their jaws slack until their vestments refresh, all polished buttons or laced work boots,
For their machines clash and clang and never stop,
Running endless on the tracks they have laid down,
Denying that man ever sleeps.
©Audrey Amir, 2014
Audrey Amir is a teacher, writer, and social worker specializing in Narrative Therapies. Her first collection of poetry, Machines and Broken Glass, is due Spring 2014 with Split Oak Press.
I still remember a friend of the
family who sternly shamed
my mom saying I didn't know how
to handle a broom. The lady wasn't
German as is this fanciful
figurine, a little girl sweeping—
part of the Hummel line....
Should I keep such a knicknack?
So sweet and uncomplaining
so neat and quaintly dressed
seemingly so unaware that
Arbeit doesn't necessarily
make one free...! I could
have her next to me where I rise
as a reminder that when dark
rumblings roll in one's direction
apparently from nowhere they
probably don't mean anything at all.
Witness that I've learned to
sweep quite well—and that I
regularly sweep—naturally, since
it keeps my eyes from stinging—
part of coping I would say—a
valuable lesson one could teach
as early as five.
© Laura Klinkon, 2014
Laura Klinkon is a writer, poet, and translator who lives in Rochester, N.Y. Active in Rochester Poets, Just Poets, and Writers & Books, she has a new book of poems, Trying to Find You, orderable locally from firstname.lastname@example.org or from Amazon.com.
I drank all the wine,
and the swallows of my brain
stopped flapping their wings.
© Ashley Hamilton, 2014
Three Poems About Sex
1. Emotionally Unavailable (Winter 2011)
She scratches my knee
as she gets up for class.
I stay seated while she
tries to leave, standing
in my doorway, not quite
sure how. She looks to my
bed in shambles and then
to me. I tell her I never
kiss goodbye, so she asks
“Can we hug at least, please.”
I hold her against me,
wanting to kiss her,
knowing I shouldn’t,
so I don’t.
2. Old Habits Die Silently (Fall 2011)
I lie in bed with my hands linked
behind my head, practically whistling
“Afternoon Delight,” a jackass grin
stamped across my face that I don’t
even remotely attempt to conceal
as she gathers her clothes from across
the room; things always need throwing,
though we regret the disarray in the end.
It’s been awhile, months since the last
time, thanks to the polite mourning period.
As she leaves, I salute her, and choke on an
“I love you.”
I really don’t, not even close, but I guess
I’m still used to saying that after sex.
3. The Last Time (Summer 2011)
We lay in her bed after our final fight,
my bags wait in the foyer, while next
day’s suit hangs on the bedroom door,
the tie she got me folded in the front
breast pocket and a train ticket hidden
behind. She looks at me, tears and snot
dripping down her face, and, with a voice
charred like an ash tray from a summer
cold, mutters, “Can we make love?”
I slowly nod. It’s almost like the first time,
a year and three months ago, awkward
and uncertain, though tomorrow is for sure.
The next day she graduates and we smile
for all the pictures her mother won’t stop
taking, while her father packs up her life.
She walks me to the school shuttle,
wearing this orange and white polka dot
dress, her hand clutching mine, our strides
growing slower and slower, as the van gets
nearer and nearer. Jim, the driver, takes my
bags and I ask him for a minute. I look into
her acne stained face and puffy red eyes as
she tells me she loves me and we’ll always
have Venice. I say about the same. We kiss
for the last time and I climb inside. Strapping
on my seat belt, I turn for one last look
and see her collapse on a nearby bench.
Jim smiles and asks, “How you doing?”
I say, “I just said goodbye
© Alex Riad, 2014
Alex Riad is a writer and theatre artist living in New York City. His plays have been produced in Manhattan, Upstate New York, as well as England and his writing has been published in The Cardinal at Wells College. More information and samples of his work can be found at www.alexriad.com.
The Hat Trick of 1939
In 1939 in Warsaw my Uncle Anzlem was a famous magician. He used to fly over the Polish ghettos on an old crust of bread. He’d wave down to our pale faces peering out from shattered black factory windows: small scraps of meat, foraged mushrooms, bitter roots would rain down into our outstretched hands. Old men, children, wives – they’d cheer him on, tell him he was a hero.
One night we dared to come out to watch him perform tricks under a hastily-done scene painting of the Pleiades. Uncle Anzlem pulled a rabbit out of a hat. My aunt grabbed it, broke its neck, and ran upstairs to the stove to boil it.
My aunt used to simmer folktales in our small kitchen. Sometimes when she stirred the pot I’d see faces from her past speaking in the broth: the frightened eyes of a courageous girl hiding somewhere in an onion field; the fists of an ogre beating her senseless in a pile of straw.
One August morning the steam turned her into a witch with chicken claws for hands and death in her eyes. I hid in a cupboard and watched through a crack. I saw my uncle’s shoes eventually appear from the fields in a cloud of dust, and he whispered a tearful incantation in her ear.
She collapsed to the floor in a puddle of boiled water and turnips.
“It’s alright, come out now, it’s over,”’ said my uncle. The steam’s spell was broken. I waited until I saw human fingers reappear on my aunt’s small hands.
In her youth, she had been the most promising ballerina at the Ballet Russe.
Teachers, friends, everybody- called her “Leokadia the Lovely."
One night we came out of hiding to watch her dance behind a farm shack in Ostrog.
We saw her pirouette through the weeds in a veiled turquoise gown of bright stars; so beautiful everyone wept in silence. My uncle stared at her, his eyes wistful, starving. He was so astonished by her grace he dropped his famous magic hat.
It hit the toe of his boot and rolled into the dirt.
That night we listened for the German troops.
The only sound you could hear at 3:00 a.m. was the wild rabbit’s heart pounding as it crept up out of the brim and ran back toward the forest.
© Celeste Helene Schantz, 2014
Celeste Helene Schantz is a writer and English teacher living in Fairport, NY. She serves on the board of Just Poets of Rochester, and is currently at work on her first book. You can find Celeste on Facebook.