[Stage dark, but raspy breathing is audible. After a few seconds, a knocking noise is heard. Simultaneously, the spotlight shines on the hospital bed in the middle of the stage where FATHER lies. He is clothed in a hospital gown and there is an oxygen mask on his face. His body is swaddled in blankets, facing stage left. Everything he wears is grey. On the right side of his bed is a side table. A few pill bottles are on top of the table. Propped up against the table, in Father’s reach, is a cane. A visiting chair is nearby.]
I was standing waist-deep in water, and it seemed like I was sinking lower by the second. Even though the icy current only wrapped around my legs, I felt like I was drenched in dread from head to toe. I was vaguely aware of the presence of my dad and brother from somewhere in the vicinity, but what I was really focused on was right in front of me. In the crook of my arm I held a collapsible fishing pole, and in the other, a container filled to the brim with wiggling, fleshy worms. I could only watch in silent horror as they squirmed around. Only one thought occurred to me: If worms could scream would we still fish?
I am very glad worms do not possess vocal chords.
You are just a civilian
And I– the storm.
Are you ready for a downpour?
Message for all citizens:
“Please seek shelter.”
I am not responsible
for the water damage–
in your house or lungs–
I am not responsible for your–
Rain will be my acid,
But I am credited the petrichor.
I will be credited
I will be credited for my own serenity.
So please feel free
to stake your claim, bunker down,
feel the wind full force.
But I warn you–
I shall show no mercy.
On the curb of a not-so-busy street there’s a washerwoman dying.
Stooped with weariness and age, Tilda Hamilton sits washing the laundry of her children and her children’s children. Their clothes are but rags, haphazardly stitched in the vaguest suggestion of each article. Tilda herself has mended them at least three times over.
Born a Spingold, Tilda has, in her old age, fallen from her family’s graces. To be a peasant of her nature, a washerwoman, is a scab on the Spingold family’s name. They’ve never forgiven Tilda, once their beloved, for marrying for love and not status. Her parents, now long gone, did not look at her once after the wedding announcement had come out. Her siblings, each graying too, shunned her from afar, barely daring to acknowledge what had become of their sister.
Tilda’s husband, an ever-sunburnt man named Colin, died just four years into their young marriage. Then widowed and saddled with three small children, Tilda took to work so she wouldn’t have to take another husband.
Now that her children have children of their own, they’ve been urging her to let her washing go, to let them take care of her the way she’s been so good to them. But Tilda, round and soft at her edges, likes the callouses on her fingers, the scald of the first hot water. She’s come to like sitting in the street against the side of the house Colin built for her, remembering the time they had together.
Her hair, once chestnut brown, is now graying and beginning, just a bit, to fall out into her yellow cap. Her vanity, strong in her youth, makes no rise now. After a lifetime of hard work marked by the sweat on her brow and the pride in her soul, Tilda is long past caring what her outside appearance is. Better to scare away the suitors of her youth and the onlookers of her age. Her heart has always belonged to Colin, from the solid grip of his hand in hers to the easy smile he gave freely. Tilda’s eyes can’t see him anymore, but she can remember the way her heart swelled with affection for him.
On the curb of a not-so-busy street sits a lone woman, hands wrinkled both with time spent on earth and the caress of water.
Washer Woman by Camille Pissarro, 1880
A lion’s mane across his back, Orion stands tall in the winter sky.
His belt composed of but three dead stars
holds up the weight of his father’s britches
But is it even possible to fill the shoes
Of the king of the sea?
Perhaps it is
If there was a man out there who could do it,
It could only be the one who
was so powerful Mother Earth herself had to kill him
to protect the animals from his ferocious hunting
It could only be the man who
hunted with the great goddess Diana,
whom she later fell in love with
It could only be the man who
had his eyes taken from him by the King of the Gods and yet
found a way to see again.
Downed by that one fateful scorpion sting
They fight for eternity in the night sky
Orion: king of winter, his spear held high,
Will have his revenge on the Scorpion of summer
Orion: slayer of a thousand animals–
Your immortal spot in the sky is well won
And it is you, my overlooked hero,
That deserves such an honor.
Not Heracles, not Achilles, not even Theseus could ever take your place.
Orion, great hunter of the sky — may your light never go out.