The chill had set in early; before the checks came, before the trees were chopped, drug inside and bedecked with paper maché memories. Food banks couldn't keep up. Struggle was growing as fast as demand.
Neighbors were dropping like flies amongst the heavy coughs, wheezing, and complaining lies about how the cloth coverings were killing us all. It wasn't Aunt Minnie's nimble-fingered stitchings that were to blame.
Some thought it was in the rain that trickled down from DC, but all wise knew nothing ever trickled down from there. Dry spigots don't do such things. Hoarders don't share, do they? Naw, man. The only thing trickling from absentia was pain.
Anyway, like I said, the cold set in. Christmas wasn't the same after the grid flipped, and we all took to burning the furniture. Evergreens don't flame as well as box springs and end tables...unless it's April, and they've been dead since Autumn. Just like the neighbors. But grandma's rocking chair? That kept us warm and fed...in the dead of winter.
Hey you, the torn one. The shredded one, glowing in your tattered form. Yes, you. The broken and bruised. I see you.
I want you to take your sad, bereaved heart, throbbing cadence with your soul, and I want you to grow. Grow it into an angry flame, burning, yearning and birth yourself anew.
I want you to rise from these unbalanced ashes like the badass, bitchin' she-devil, motherfuckin' Phoenix you are and take this life by its horns as though you own every damn corner of this town, state, and province of vicinity. Rise for me.
She just needed to do the dishes. And the laundry. And let the dogs out. And make sure everyone eats all of the meals. The breakfast. What's for breakfast? Eggs? Again? UGH! She hopes it's ok. Is it ok? She's sorry it's eggs again. She looks at the dishes. Now there's more dishes. The kids should wash the dishes, but the kids have school work, and YouTube, and games, and she's ok with that because the kids have been as resilient as possible in this Covid mess alternate world. Ok. What was she doing? Yes. The dishes. No. Letting dogs out. No. The breakfast. Eggs again. Yes, eggs again.
She just needed to do the dishes.
There they were; stacked like a wobbly, colorful, miniature, overcrowded Stonehenge of funk. She'll get there. But first she flicks the laptop open, and let's the dogs out, and checks all the emails, and permissions, and parameters, and tries to find some coffee. She finds the coffee and faces the dishes. She bumps into laundry, and sees the clock. Almost lunch time. What's for lunch? Mac and cheese? Again?? UGH! She hopes it's ok. Is it ok? She's sorry it's mac and cheese again.
Now there's more dishes. The kids should wash the dishes, but the kids are distracted in books and that was ok because they've given so much up in this Covid mess she wasn't about to take their mental vacation away. What was she going to say? She glances out the window and strays to the riverbank, the woods, and the beach.
She opens more emails and spreadsheets. More scrolling and flipping screens. More coffee. She finds more coffee and faces the dishes. She bumps into laundry, and sees the clock. Almost dinner time. What's for dinner? What's for dinner? Wait.
She just needed to do the dishes.
Plucking strings while the moon rings
low colors by my bedside.
A pillar of strength skin side out
while crumbled interior mess shouts
unequal to her appearance.
Chords drown out the clearance.
Just keep plucking.
Just keep strumming.
A day will come to acclivity
and her naivety will expire
simultaneous to her desire
of finding herself reflected in another face.
Untidiness of life will dissipate
like a friendless ghost exhaling.
I just keep wailing lonesome strings
while the moon rings
muffled colors by my bedside.
Molly Roland is a writer by nature, and she enjoys stepping over the invisible lines society loves to draw.