Incarnations i. The smell of leaves baking in dry grass is October. There were exorcisms of natural talent each Wednesday At the 3 PM piano lessons beginning that month. The chords, rickety like a ladder missing rungs, climbed and descended Under shaking fingers and a bright bulb that brought attention To ragged fingernails, a plaster rendering of Johann Sebastian Bach, and The liver spots on Mrs. Grayson’s hands. We played Red River Valley Until the notes could be heard like a phantom limb is felt, In leaf houses with an architecture like the circle of fifths. ii. The Making of Americans is the essential concern of most systematic theology. Children are raised pious schizophrenics on accidental influencers: Gertrude Stein, Reinhold Niebuhr, William Golding. We’re anonymous until a phrase is read out loud. Until an ‘S’ is formed perfectly in cursive hand after many attempts. Then dirty fingernails under an LED bulb define and inform and categorize synapses. And revolutions are not expected. Only outcomes. Five daughters meant that Mama didn’t know how to raise a son. She knew only of folk songs and dutch ovens. He talked with God and squeezed black cherries between his fingers In a house of leaves that the wind was destroying in November, While we sang the words of Red River Valley and stirred things in pots. His ‘S’s’ were wobbly. He read encyclopedias, fixating on facts. iii. One day, he stopped talking to God. And we stopped taking piano lessons. iv. In a cohesion of Octobers, less and less factual, We learned to grant our more personal deities clemency. Our sweaty-palmed recitals became more covert, less performance And less like hammers on strings, pounding a clear treble or bass, But a series of stammerings, in Arcadian rhythms. We poured ourselves into hollow objects, trying to become. Trying to grow up. We vacillated between smooth and rough surfaces. We scraped our knees on the cherry bark of twisted perceptions, Applied the slick salve that stung our pride, And imperceptibly we transformed. We were no longer children.
Laura Page is a 2011 graduate of Southern Oregon University, where she studied English Literature and Sociology. She has been a reader and writer of poetry since she was 12 and continues in her bibliophilic ways now, as a 12-year-old at heart. Laura’s work has appeared in Decades Review and The Magill Review. 11
Fall 2013 Volume 1, Issue 1
A compilation of the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Volumes 1 and 2 (2013-2014)