Bio Note: I am a longtime editor, slowly publishing poet, and author of six picture books, including From Apple Trees to Cider, Please! and The Boy Who Said Nonsense (Albert Whitman & Company). In 2018 I moved away from the masthead of an academic quarterly to work with people who want to share their stories, ideas, and poems in print. It’s been a joy—and quite an adventure.
What We Hold Dear
I always park beside the Foran family atop the hill. A giant maple spoils my view, but I don’t care. It’s peaceful here. Slowly, all at once, the world we knew is being erased. Is this “good” or “bad”? I have to take it case by case. I often think these strange gray stones look like they’ve sprung straight from the ground. They also look like teeth in an old mouth, decaying, loose, and crooked due to clime. Holding dear to time, I sit and watch a herd of doe conduct five spotted fawn across this August lawn. A fear-free saunter, for there’s no one here. It’s too damn hot. But I don’t care. I am surrounded by the largest crowd in town and no one says a word. I can think! The silence bakes, and nothing seems absurd.
Yes I admit to trolling Buy Sell Trade. I’ve turned in gold for cash, counting paydays. For some, sometimes, there’s never quite enough to go around—for feeling safe and sound. My mother stockpiled money for her funeral in an old valise she hid beneath her bed. Dollars raised, the secret selling off— her treasured stamps, coins from Dad’s collection— the store discovered during her last move. Let’s put that suitcase in the trunk. Mom leapt clutched it to her breast, as if a newborn. What the hell? I cried. All was revealed, this remnant of an Old World way of thinking. Safer here than in some bloodless bank! My grandfather was known to move then lose a mattress-floorboard stash from time to time. He’d accuse, lament the loss, until Grandma, livid, came to him in dreams. Sal, you stupid SOB! The money’s safe behind that corner fireplace brick... An angry ghost to thank for thousands saved. In death and debt we learn what does the trick.
©2020 Felicia Sanzari Chernesky
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