Friday, January 19, 2007


Two Tuesdays ago
I went into my mother's studio
to ask her where she kept the light bulbs.
The closet light had gone out.
She said,
--I am going to call this painting Rescue.
I couldn't see who,
needed rescuing.
Nothing seemed threatened.

I am standing on the side walk
in front of my great-grandmother's house
under hanging Spanish moss
that clings to century old oaks
lining the always empty street.

I survey the houses
that I imagine
no one lives in anymore.
I watch my reflection
in the tinted windows
across the street
of Brown Glass Co.

It is a brick brown building
that stands next to a flea market
that was once a church.
Before we leave we will buy pecans there.

I drop a light bulb.

It shatters
and a million glass slivers
pop the rays of the sun
that hangs high
in the brilliant blue summer sky
scattered with heavy puffs.
Later, the heat will turn these to rain.

Light filters through the oak branches
forming strange shadows on the sidewalk.
I see myself splintered
in the broken shards of glass.
I see the tangled moss
reflected in the glass.
And I imagine
I can see the red bugs
reflected in the glass
that my mother says lives in the moss
--so I won't play with it.

They get under your skin,
she says.
They make you crazy,
--with itches,
she tells me.

I stop thinking about bugs
and I pick up the broken bulb.
I study the filament,
something from Mrs. Fitzgerald's science class.
I turn.
Holding up the bulb,
I look
through the space that was once a vacuum
at the Southern Bell Building
surrounded by palm trees
that make me believe that Florida is one street over.

I remember the ruby ring
my mother said she lost
as a child
playing in Ebie's yard.

I abandon the filament
and broken vacuum
to search for other lost treasures.

I look again at the painting.
In the background,
I see Ebie's house
her porch
her swing,
her yard.
I stare further,

I stop looking at the painting
and go in the kitchen,

I call my sister
and ask her
when is she coming home.

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