Down Tobacco Road, Where The Leaves Fell
There were plastic-wrapped blankets and the smell of ammonia,
fans on high all over the front room and scuff marks from the bed’s wheels,
and they’d brought her home like that, and she began to sleep again.
There was a hat, a thin blue sheet like a doily, (she had those all over
the house, different designs, she took pride in them) and her sunken eyes
were gray and tired, and that was not how she always looked at me.
She didn’t talk except for a few words, a few coughs,
a few cries from the chest tube cleanings, I remember that
red liquid coming out of her and into a machine, and how I
saw a bionic thing, hardly a woman, a creature unknown to me.
The sun peaked through the window cautiously, as to not disturb,
beginning with a spot on the floor and creeping to her bed,
up her towel covered legs and onto her thin hands.
Those hands created this home, that one blanket, all the smiles
we gave to her before she got real bad, the way I still remember her.
I was always kept in the dark about things like that, we all were,
us kids weren’t supposed to know the inner workings of pain,
her kind of pain, a different kind that caused my mother to weep out of fear.
Her mouth was slightly open, a hand on my little shoulder,
the sun outside hit my back felt warm and comforting,
and I wanted her to feel that way too.
So I took the sun’s warmth from my back and let it flow through my fingers,
like beams out of my hands and onto hers, but hers were cold.
There were rows of tobacco out of the window, we sped down the road,
my mother and father, my sister, we were quiet, just sitting in the
dark listening to the hum of the wheels on the pavement, an innocuous bump or two.
The dark night was clear, clear like eyes glistening in autumnal air,
and the leaves swirled behind us, different shades of reds and yellows,
and I heard my mother begin to cry, and that’s when I began too.
About the Author: Nick Soluri is a writer from New York. His words have appeared in Five:2:One Magazine, Boston Accent, Ghost City Review, Selcouth Station, Occulum, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, and others. He tweets @nerkcelery
More by Nick Soluri:
Image Credit: Charles Aubry “An Arrangement of Tobacco Leaves and Grass” (1864) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.