Empty Hand

I opened my hand but found it empty
Until I saw the woman from church across the parking lot
Who needed help with her groceries
She had an old cart whose wheel stuck
So I picked up the two bags and slung the cart across my back
Like a guitar I used to have as a teenager
I smelled apples and cherries and pecans in one bag and told her so
My gait slowed to match her shuffle as the sun warmed our heads
Blessing our conversation til we arrived at her door
When she invited me into her house
I crossed the threshold and was bathed in coolness like Southern sweet tea
Which she poured as I put away her goods in cupboards and an old icebox
That sat in the corner like Methuselah waiting for the flood
We sat at her table, linoleum floor peeling a little near the leg of my chair
Ice cubes clinking as they melted and hit the insides of the glasses
I stood up when she pushed her chair back but
She told me to set and wait a spell
On the counter I noticed her pocketbook and thought to tell her
She shouldn’t leave it out in the open
Where anybody might come see it through the window
In her hands was a beat-up little box which she laid in front of me
Taking off the lid she showed me one by one
Four photographs, edges curling
As she gently extracted each one
Tears pooled in my eyes
The same face swam in front of me in each picture
Sometimes smiling, sometimes serious-like
But always in a crisp, dark uniform and cap
I know she was talking to me but I couldn’t hear the words
Cuz my ears pounded
Next thing I knew she placed in my hand a star hung on a blue ribbon and
Curling her fingers over mine to close my hand
She kissed my cheek and told me to come back any time
And she’d make me an apple pie
I’m not sure how I made it back home next to the rail station
But when I arrived I pulled back the curtain
Rummaging through my bag I pulled out
A cap
Just like the one in the pictures
And putting it on
I lay down
Listening to the trains pass
And held on to that star
My hand empty no more.

6 thoughts on “Empty Hand

  1. Darcy! I was just talking to Shawn Bird and mentioned your poetry! (I didn’t mention your name, but I see she already follows you!) I felt like I was there! I wanted to know more! Love it and u!

    • Beth, you are so encouraging! Thank you. I feel so strange because these people don’t feel like my creations. They feel like ghosts living in my head. Don’t know how else to say that. Not scary. Wish I could make a living out of this! So many more images want to emerge. Thank you for reading my work. Love you!

      • I know how important it is to get feedback and encouragement! Ghosts in your head!? Jealous! Sounds like you are developing characters to me! Go for it!

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