She sees faces in the rocks and small stones she finds in the yard, faces staring back at her, smiling or reproachful, young or old. She hands them to me and sometimes I can see them, too. The ones I can see I give names to, first and last, and hand them back to her to see if I got them right. I almost always get them right, or she says, “No, she looks more like a Pearl or a Maude to me.” Then she’d put the smallest ones in her pocket, set the larger ones aside and, later, we’d carry them up to the steps, give them a nice shower from the garden hose, let them bask awhile in the sun before bringing them inside to our box of face rocks.
Sometimes I wonder what became of them after I left. I wonder if she tossed them back into the yard and garden before she moved to the mountains, or gave them away to the kids in the neighborhood, or if she just included the box one day with the other trash, dragged to the curb.
In my office today I have a large water cooler bottle filled with corks. None of them have names, though. I have a tea canister filled with Chinese fortunes, a small galvanized pail overflowing with red plastic coffee scoops, a display case for my hundreds of tin boxes, half a dozen terracotta balls, a sizeable collection of rusty railroad spikes, and about half a million books.
I wish she could be here to see them.
Ron. Lavalette lives on the Canadian border in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. His debut chapbook, Fallen Away, from Finishing Line Press, is now available at all standard outlets. His work has appeared extensively in journals, reviews, and anthologies ranging alphabetically from Able Muse and the Anthology of New England Poets through the World Haiku Review and Your One Phone Call. A reasonable sample of his published work can be viewed at EGGS OVER TOKYO: http://eggsovertokyo.blogspot.com
You can also see more of his work in 4.2 and in the very first issue, 1.1