I have swallowed my voice for 355 days, during which time I swept and dusted, mopped, sewed, cooked, and bore one son. In my silence, I heard the rain fall on the wooden rafters and pressed my finger against the glass of the window to follow a spider on the other side as she wove each thread in her web. Her web hung under the eaves of our window facing the pond. It was there for three or four months, when one day I woke and put on my apron and found she and her nest were gone. The boy who brought our daily milk struck our window with a stick after you berated and boxed his ears for bringing a sour bottle. The crack is still there. When I stare at it too long, I can feel the fissure reflected in my iris. It runs deep and deeper, and when I close my eyes, I can hear the shattering…
Today we walked in the woods together, the ax hefted on my shoulder and the gun on yours. It was bright early and the snowfall was fresh, crunching under our boots. Our breaths came out thick and white, mingled together and disappeared up into the sky.
The gray lady glided in a gown of tempered silver, bobbing like a distant traveler’s lantern in the winter hush of a November dusk. Warriors dropped their swords and shed their ineffective amulets to lay down in the battlefield. They found the cold snow as welcoming as soft pillows and slept. From dreams into death they passed, unknowingly and pleased. The great wizards with their spying glasses trembled from high on the ramparts and the king guarded by his castle watched as she strode unhurriedly, cowing his great army as the drawbridge unwound itself and lowered.
If this blog were a child:
It would know how to run and speak.
It would know how to count upon its digits.
It would know courtesy and laughter.
It would be in Pre-K and finger painting.
But even though it’s not, it still has a proud parent and a lovely village that helped raise it.
Thanks for sticking with Red Gladiola. ❤
1. Well-founded is my ire against thee and mightily has it grown. The waters of mistrust and betrayal have nursed it heartily and whispered passions into its ears. A suckling babe drew its first breaths to spite you and dreamed early of inchoate vengeance.
2. She of silver hair and dainty feet flew in fury, raking her tresses of fire before the conquering king. She cursed him with the mad patter of her heels, but he, foolish and entranced, brought the dancer to his bed not knowing she was the chieftain’s daughter. There, her passion killed him.
3. Motionless, he stood before her, a hulking form around which darkness amassed. A passing car threw errant light, orange through the window blinds. She shivered, but didn’t dare pull the sheet to cover herself. She felt as if her slightest movement could provoke the passion of a beast.
Against bilious winds, the triangular sail of stark ebony rode waves of change. The sandaled people on the beach pointed, ladies whispered behind their long sleeves of silk, and the fishermen who had just finished mooring their boats turned their astonished faces again towards the sea. A messenger from the nearest garrison rode on the fleetest horse to tell the governor all that they feared: Death had come to their shores.
A teenage girl flung herself headlong through the maze of the fishing district. She scrambled over barrels of squid and mackerel. Her heart leapt with her feet and her ears strained to catch the sound of armored footsteps behind her. She jerked, skidding, as advancing Royal Guards bullied and pushed protesting merchants out of their path. Ducking into an alleyway, she crouched behind a pile of discarded crates and peeled off the sash tied to her waist. Its fluttering skirt dropped, revealing twin throwing knives sheathed in her leather belt.
A guard’s voice, threatening and masculine, echoed through the alleyway.
“Did she come in here?”