Adele Evershed

Life Lines

Spading the garden to plant the seed potatoes   

His afternoon in sprinkles of rain and dotted eyes 

Wearing old boots and a black beret

Unjointed—lean—spittle-thickened—alone  

In an inside pocket—his hurt—folded over and over


The door shut on the young man he was 

He thought about how she laughed as he got the bottle  

Telling her—It'll make you feel better—

Later she wanted her own measure so he got her a flask to hold it

At first it amused him—both getting at the same thing from different places

For better or worse, until death and so on

 

Much later she asked

—What difference did it make if you hold or carry something? 

And insisted—not a thing. Nothing. 

Yet as it turned out it was everything.


Walking down the hill toward the river another girl in the doorway—sagging 

Her breath across the wind nudges him in the ribs

His breathing as sharp as the turn down the bank 

She was almost out of sight but then she shouted

—You're not going? 

It shocked him back


He sat down on the bank and the crust of him split

He could see the bell tower over the hill

And the tangled lining of his pockets cast flat on the water

—slowly going to pieces as the bell tolled. An echo of a different story

And nothing was the same as he remembered

  

His eyes colored by the melting snow as the sun came out

He rescued her flask from his pocket tipping it into the river

Earth to earth, water to water—an urstwhile blessing of sorts

His eyes glistened. Days like this stretched out ahead

Tomorrow like a favor—slapping him on the back and putting money in his pocket

Maybe it was nothing. Or maybe it would be everything. 

Air Turbulence In Small Spaces

I've never been able to whistle, but on the radio, a father and daughter have made whistling their life's work. They are performing the Archer's theme, and they sound so happy. Their hero is Ronnie Ronalde, an artist who blew for Marilyn Monroe and the Queen. There's talk about shepherds and plowboys and music by Bach. Then the presenter plays the last bars of 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' and says how sad it sounds because Otis Redding recorded it right before he died. But surely everyone knows that's not why it's painful. Suddenly they switch to whistling languages. They call it 'speaking without tongues.' I look over to tell you, "Wouldn't that be an excellent title for a Netflix dystopia limited series?" But, of course, you're not there.


Next, a man with a tambourine voice says, you can whistle with an accent and use whistling speech for poetry and seduction. I think about that Bacall line—put your lips together and blow. Finally, his voice like long sweetening, a different man gives different advice, "Spread your lips wide, smile." But I've forgotten how.


Apparently, pitch always depends on the opening of the lips, so I lick my lips, purse and there's a sound like grief. But it's probably only the wind, and since you've gone, there's nobody to hear me anyway.

Illusions Of A Starry Night

your brutal words balance on my arms in stacks of dirty plates 

as I pencil trees in what Brock, the art instructor calls ‘Van Gogh style’

not a forest or a wood, not even a copse but a singular black hulk surrounded by a triangular fence—aloof and as far removed from the divine as a hotdog


the limbs wave in stabs and snatches—the spiky leaves spiraling cruelly 

filling all the space making it difficult to breath

Brock looks over and smiles saying, ‘Your tree is fifty shades of grey’

of course he’s alluding to that badly edited bestseller—full of  borderline abusive 

your abuse is always beautifully polished—never in my face always just under my skin 


my pencil snaps as I grimace at Brock—picking up a bright yellow oil pastel 

I amaze myself and morph the leaves into stars that swirl in the darkness 

dropping my arms the plates smithereen and become just an empty task for a woman with a broom


And as I pack my bag, somewhere in the divine I feel Van Gogh wink

Adele Evershed is an early years educator and writer. She was born in Wales and has lived in Hong Kong and Singapore before settling in Connecticut. Some of the places you can find her prose on line include Every Day Fiction, Free Flash Fiction, Ab Terra Flash Fiction Magazine and Grey Sparrow Journal. Her poetry has been published in High Shelf, bee house Journal, Tofu Ink Arts Press, The Fib Review, Sad Girls Club and Green Ink Poetry. Adele’s work has also appeared in a number of print anthologies.

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