Still

By Kristina Kingsley


Mother's still eyelids began to quiver the day we were born. The tears could not be ebbed, and
hence spurred forth to create the brook that ran behind the barn. Older sister rejoiced in the
pale light of dawn. Two cribs pushed into the living room with the rising sun. A morning call
resounded through the meadowlark's song. Welcome. Nature beckons us into the world, and
creates the wooded paths that guide us home.

Autumn winds still blow through the yellow maples in the yard where we played, pirates
sailing through leaves. Mother calls us inside to sip her hot homemade cider. Steam rises from
two blue mugs perched upon the windowsill.

Snow still falls, blanketing the land. Soundlessly. Gracefully. Father plays his violin as you
dance before the fireplace, your long blonde curls twirling. I join you. Spin me around once,
twice, a third time for fun. Fall down to the floor. Holler. Our intricate dance mimics that of
the flames that lick at the mantel.

The school bus still hums past blooming lilies on Cider Hill Road, carrying us home. Hand in
hand, we walk, tiny dots disappearing into the landscape of corn and wheat. The fresh rains
birth thick mud that cakes our yellow coats and oversized rubber boots. We remove them at
the door to spare mother’s favorite rug.

Your laughter still sounds at the wooden dinner table. Five candles upon a chocolate cake
sparkle and flicker in the warm breeze. Our lungs fill in expectation, breathing life into wishes.
1...2...3... blow! They will never come true. The glow is already fading in your eyes.

The sunset casts long shadows among the bending trees. A single mug sits upon the
windowsill. Mother stares at the grandfather clock.
     Tick-tock
  As though you might come home
     Tick-tock
  As though she would allow you
     Tick-tock
           just this once,
     Tick-tock
                 to trek in the mud
     Tick-tock
                      if it meant she could hold you
     Tick-tock
 
                            a last time.


I cherish the moments when the world grew beautifully still to watch a child smile, laugh, and
dance.

I sit alone, far from the wind
the leaves
the dancing,
childish dreams,
hot cider,
and hands that hold and mirror mine.
Help me, for I am caught in the snares of a million memories
that keep you here
with me.