Orphaned footsteps round the old place.
Pitch black soil, packed deep with bartered
coin and Indian heads – wood and otherwise,
coat her worn leather shoes, Hutterite chic.
The long land screams within its own silence.
Prairie sage burns somewhere, a ghostly smudge
for the undulating grass and, those it serves.
Its alive scent makes the dead turn towards
its head - and the barely living turn to listen.
The impossibly endless horizon holds its bright
blue at bay, begging acknowledgement for
its self-professed being and looming enormity.
She looks at the broken window glass and
through the tattered, delicate gray lace. “Those
were hers.” She whispers to the one who listens.
This great-great-granddaughter sees the curtains
as they once were – wistful in the hot Manitoba
wind; fresh and lowing with the honest elemental
scent of aspens, hope and bare-knuckle wash boards;
always fresh; shifting in the cry for solace in summer
shadows – never as still as this moments endlessness.
Blowing through the deep brown of splintered pine
front doors; cracking the announcement of cast iron,
rot and burnt wood comes the simple statement of –
I lived. This mother of five young does not cry,
just yearns to walk in the old ones footsteps;
to know them loved; hear the birdsong through
unbroken bedroom windows for a 5am waking;
feel the resistance of dough on fingers that beg
to be broken, and kiss the twisting undead, living.
The burning of the noonday sun taps her whole,
marking; branding her pale Swedish skin its own.
The red sting of burnt breaks her inward silence,
welcoming her familiar face home.
© Kristin Reynolds 3 29 2009
*Reposted for John's Summer Celebration Contest. This is a personal celebration;
celebrating and honoring my great grandparents who settled in Manitoba after leaving
Sweden and Denmark. This celebrates the summer of family, at least for me. We went there
every summer until it was gone...