Nicolas Henderson CC
September first floods. I drive ten miles an hour to the Piggly Wiggly for Dr. Pepper and Doritos. Water so thick my Honda hydroplanes. I am ten again—Mother squeezes the steering wheel, wipers scratch back and forth: Forgive us our sins, Lord, so we can die in peace.
At Smideo Video the cashier drums his fingers on the counter: Wet enough for you? Outside, water spears the ground. Inside, drops from my forehead smudge the Visa slip. Too soaked for small talk, I take The Last Wave and leave him drumming.
Hail bounces on the roof. Under the quilt Mother pieced together for my college graduation, I hear her: Never put this in the dryer. It will shrink. I always wash it on gentle then drape over four kitchen chairs like the tents I used to make.
The Last Wave: black rain in Australia. Deep beneath Sydney Richard Chamberlain strangles the shaman and can’t hold back the surge. At midnight Ted calls from Motel Six in Biloxi: Highway 10 is closed. I’ll be home when the road opens.
Dream: Ted and I kneel for communion in the Beulah Baptist Church. Lilies droop from a single stalk. In a red robe the pastor offers us the blood of Christ. I look up—he wears my mother’s face.
Sight dims after twenty years
sewing cotton under fluorescence.
In fingerless gloves, she threads the eye,
prays for easy passage.
Glint from the silver thimble reminds
her of glow worms in a Texas summer.
Specks of light on pinewood,
brown iris rimmed in white.
She longs to be above the factory glare
where sunlight rolls through mist.
Rising from her bone, warmth spreads
like manna’s sweet, clear juice.
Tamarisk petals fall, barely touch her body,
blinking like fireflies.
Chella Courington is a writer and teacher whose poetry and fiction appear in numerous anthologies and journals including Spillway, Los Angeles Review, and Lavender Review. Her novella, Adele and Tom: The Portrait of a Marriage, is available at Amazon. Originally from the Appalachian South, Courington lives in California.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.