S. Stephanie

February’s Question

                       for W.E.B

 

     Stepping out onto the ice-thick Massabesic Reservoir, its sheer expanse of white overwhelming me― and didn’t I know it would?  I must have known―those miles of snow and that sky with no gull crossing, and those scattered flakes falling through full sun, falling absurdly. Absurdly!  Yes, I am sure I knew how memories could be called out to fly up into such silence. Abstract bits and pieces of past, how they can blow about with no place to land but on themselves, no way to rise in such heavy oblivion.  Was I tempted? Yes, I believe I was. I believe I could have sat down right there, filled that frozen lake with our years together. But no, I walked back, nearly two miles to the shore―why? Somewhere in me, did I really think I’d find more solid ground to bury them in, a more meaningful grave to honor us?  

All that work we have done,


     cutting the lifeline in our palms shorter, carving those mysterious creases and crevices that only Madame X at the carnival can read.  She keeps things from us, we know. Perhaps she thinks we are better off not seeing, so she tells it vague: Yes, you are headed for a change. It will involve strangers.  But we walk away feeling she has just exposed our Soul, and we are wondering what the lifeline etched on its opaque hand looks like, how stooped are its transparent shoulders, and is that its left leg dragging a little? Yes, she has probably seen thirty or forty of us today, our gray, slumping souls tagging behind us for the rides, the side shows, and the cotton candy. Yet she offers no clues as to how we should proceed, has no comments on the Grand Finale under the Big Top tonight, or which games we should try our luck at next.

S Stephanie’s poetry, fiction and book reviews have appeared in many literary magazines including, Birmingham Poetry Review, Café Review, Cease, Cows, Rattle, St. Petersburg Review, Southern Indiana Review, The Southern Review, The Sun, Third Coast, and Wickford Art Association. Her three chapbooks are Throat (Igneus Press) , What the News Seemed to Say (Pudding House - re-released by Igneus Press in 2015), and So This Is What It Has Come To (2015 Finishing Line Press) She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Rollinsford, NH and teaches creative writing on the college and community level. She is a juried Teaching Artist on both the NH State Council of the Arts Education Roster and Health Care Education Roster. You can visit her website at http://sstephanie.com/

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