separate pools of light,
The Old Woman and I sat at the kitchen table.
Musing with the night.
She was sipping honeyed tea,
And I, neat usquaebach.
Our yearly rite.
shadows danced on the walls, in sync with the crepe myrtles whipped
about by the equinoctial gales. Stick-like figures in a wild bacchanal,
leaping then full-stopping to the intermittent roar of rushing
wind, screeching owls and the dopplering whistle of a freight
train highballing across the Panhandle. I was far, far away from
Miami. . .
I watched the Old Woman across the circular glass table top. Sipping
tea and scribbling in the ever present Moroccan bound notebook.
There were nearly fifty now, carefully stored in a well traveled
steamer trunk in the attic. All in Hungarian. "Soon, they
are yours," she whispered to me.
Caressing her beloved Siamese, Bandit.
knitted, she peered into the near distance. The exact pose as
in an old painted photograph: Mama (everyone calls her that now)
was sitting in an outdoor cafe in Budapest, wearing a white dress
dotted with colorful pansies. A wide brimmed hat, its cerulean
ribbons floating on a cascade of blonde hair. Obviously pregnant
with Cora. Pen in hand, she was searching across the Danube for
someone - her lover? There was no inscription but the stamped
date was 1 sep 39.
a country girl. Her vegetable and flower gardens were the envy
of the county. Out the kitchen window, I saw rows of corn, beans
and peppers. Beautiful roses, jonquil, daffodils, and tulips.
She also raised pigs and the honey from her bee hives was in constant
demand. It produced the finest mead. Her crescent rolls were simply
a young woman, Cora enjoyed searching for wild flowers. Mama had
warned about the wild boars, beasts that were probably descendants
of those brought by Ponce. They will crash into you, break your
legs and stomp you to death. But it was a human beast who abducted
and raped Cora. An old man and a boy fishing on the lake reported
to the police that they had heard a young woman's screams but
by the time they reached the dirt road all they saw was a red
cloud of dust and a shiny black 4-door Caddy . Couldn't make out
the plate because they opened up with automatics. Heading South.
The police did all they could.
Then Mama hired me. For four years, she and I searched. I finally
rescued Cora from a hideout in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp.
It was on Easter Sunday.
year, around the date of her abduction, Cora was swallowed by
the memory of her personal experience of hell. She was just lost
to the world for four months. But then, around Springtime, Cora
would return to herself and Mama would rejoice as if it were New
Year. She had her daughter back once again and all the earth was
~ * ~