Others hold against you– Are hurt by and bring down wrath Upon your pain – Childhood never ending Swirling inside the mind drain; Decisions of survival During exploration of the self– These ghosts will haunt Until end of time– Their whispers paranoia sells. There is no such thing As kindness or compassion Not even from the ones we love We will always be alone But we will always rise above.
Thank you for taking the time toread my poem today. If you would like to see more poetry, please like, comment on, or share this poem. It helps me know which types of posts my readers like best.
While adventuring along the Skalkaho Road (Route 38) Rose Hip season is in full swing. That means, it’s time to harvest and process all these beautiful end of summer/beginning of autumn fruits. For further reading, I’m going to refer readers over to this article on processing Rose Hips on The Spruce.
Rose hips were one of my grandmother’s favorite foods. My grandmother was the daughter of a feminist, progressive “woman’s doctor” in the Deep South (Alabama). She told me a story once about how the blood and other body fluids from miscarriages and complicated births were used to feed/fertilize her family’s rose bushes while they were cleaning the surgical delivery suite in the family’s basement. Traditionally, especially in the South, human blood and animal blood was used as fertilizer for roses. You can find instructions on using blood meal to fertilize your rose bushes here.
I could go into great detail about the religious and spiritual significance around the use of blood to fertilize rose bushes that would then be used to grow and harvest the eventual resulting rose hips from the flowers. There is something truly beautiful about this cycle of life and connectedness between the earth and this particular food, especially as we enter a season where “the veil thins.”
A word of advice: if you collect wild rose hips soak them in water overnight unless you like extra protein. Use a slotted spoon to lift them from the water. You’ll see the grubbies at the bottom of the container. Pour this out, or strain them out.
I’ll add another update with preparations of rose hips including tea, jam, and cordial soon. I need to go back out and collect more rose hips before I can write about these preparation processes, specifically the cordial.
What seasonal foraging foods do you like hunting for in autumn? Are there any family favorites? Any traditions?
Content Warning: this piece discusses the death of a child and is based on a true story that took place almost a hundred years ago. For those wishing for a soundtrack while reading, I recommend this.
It rained that day in Bonaventure. The men in linen raincoats slicked with wet wax pried her blue and purple infant from her arms with kind eyes as they stood by the gravesite. He never cried. His eyes scrunched shut and mouth hung open to reveal white gums and a tiny receding purple tongue that never knew her breast. His little hands balled into stiff rigor mortis – the same little hands that once pressed through her skin to feel his parents’ palms. The wood and hammered metal wheelchair creaked beneath her in the gusting wisps of distant thunder carried on harried fat dollops of weather.
It was time to say goodbye.
Having never taken a breath of the sweet earthy air, she knew he only ever lived inside her. Her eyes hesitated on his blue lips. A different blue than the eyes she knew he must have beneath those unopened angelic lids. She imagined how if they had fluttered open she could have seen…
“Anna, it’s time to go.” The captain clasped a firm hand on her shoulder. “You have to say goodbye.” His body trembled, but his feet remained firm in the soggy ground.
Ever the polite grave diggers at Bonaventure – their patient spades waited for the captain’s call. To have her baby’s birth documented at all was a luxury. In the eyes of the state of Georgia and the city of Savannah, he never existed. At least Bonaventure gave her and her husband the dignity of recognizing the agony of her feverish labor after carrying her child for all those months; the right to mourn after knowing him all that time only to lose him before ever hearing his scream of life or giving him a name on paper.
In the distance, a bird flew into a patch of blue sky over the ocean on the blue-gold horizon beyond the mouth of the Wilmington River. Another drop of water hit her as she gazed over her child’s face once more. Her hand grazed the place on her stomach where she felt his final kick before the labor began – where she saw his little foot press through her skin. She let go – her tears hidden by the rain.
The men wrapped his little form in a thin damp cloth dusted with perfumed talc from a pouch on one of the digger’s belts. Smudging dirt on his forehead, the digger knelt and placed her unknown son as if asleep into the soft soil of the small pit. Beneath the morning clouds, the scene took on a light blue glowing hue. She closed her eyes and began to hum the lullaby she’d sung to him every night since she’d first felt his presence as the captain’s jerk of the chair indicated him turning away and processing along the ground. The exhaustion hit her again with a wave of nausea. Her baby boy gone forever as if he was never there at all.
In Bonaventure’s records they added:
1929 – Baby B— – Stillborn
If you want to read more, keep an eye out for future additional updates and excerpts from ‘Little Earthquakes In The Sea’.Liking, commenting, and sharing all helps me know which posts my readers prefer. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this today!
This piece of prose is meant to serve a dual purpose: provide a life update and artistically reflect on 2020.
Have you heard of this thing? It’s called, “Slow Food.”
I shake my head. “Isn’t that cooking?”
“No, no. Not like that.” Judgmental tuts put me in my place.
People are always waiting to tell other people they’re breathing the wrong way because it isn’t the way they learned how to breathe.
I stare at my ceiling as my partner falls asleep. “Is my food meant to be causing constipation?” What is meant by slow? Sounds uncomfortable.
2020 distorts time like light passing through water and glass – the concentrated pockets brighten momentarily, but fade into the surrounding textures and patterns. I’m reminded of Bay Time – of a place in my past that no longer exists – when waking up during the blue hour meant a circuit of nets and crab pots, checking juvenile oyster baskets for conchs as they float tethered and returning by mid-morning on a clear day – when our family’s laughter sparkled off the water for hours as we chattered and picked steamed crab from exoskeletons. Hand-packed. Frozen. Thawed. Remembered.
Did I remember to respond to those emails last week? What about those interview questions I was going to write? What is Slow Food?
I create daily menus as my partner’s coworkers abandon ship for economic mirages. The grass is always greener… says the cow chewing cud.
What started as a chance to write 6 books turns into 6 unfinished books and 4 shelved ones. No one reads this. Why would anyone want to? Is there a world where my words matter?
“No, no. Not like that.” Say the rejections I receive.
I search for staff writing and editing positions at places that might acknowledge and apologize for microaggressions. Where I would feel safe bringing them up. I try to imagine a writing position where I could continue to find growth. I take two weeks off wondering if they’ve realized I’m the only staff editor they didn’t acknowledge the birthday of yet.
“No, no. Not like that.” Says the writing group I try out, but don’t feel comfortable going back to after the group leader says those that are talented at writing fiction are narcissists… after she compliments my ability to write fiction.
I read antique poetry books for inspiration and tell myself I’ll finish A Hundred Different Skies. I’ll finish at least one to be sure. But no one will read it. Why would they? Not even my family supports me anymore.
I stop getting on Twitter after our friend dies. He’s not the first death this year. My heart hurts. I’m told to take care of myself, but in isolation it’s not that simple. The words don’t come when I try to talk about the brick building on Poquoson Ave. I begin seriously considering mortuary school again.
“Have you tried Slow Food?”
“Isn’t that cooking?” I stare at these pages of unpolished text.
I lose a close friend to schizophrenia. She creates 15+ phone numbers and iMessage accounts to call and harass me about how I am the grey goo in her computer — about how I knew about the people living in her walls — about how the literary magazine I gave her in Summer 2018 predicted all of this. I try not to dwell on wedding pictures. My voicemail box fills regularly to the point my doctors can’t get ahold of me.
For the first summer since undergrad I lose count of the number of times I’ve been camping. This feels like the correct number of times. I start to wish I didn’t have to go home and find myself learning how to do seasonal prepping of food for the winter. I already knew.
“Have you tried Slow Food?”
“Isn’t that cooking?” My entire life has changed, but I haven’t found a new normal. Nothing is normal, and the only thing “slow” is Schrödinger’s Time in this box of a year trying to tell me everything is both fine and not fine at the same time.
But “No, no. Not like that,” says the world as it spins madly on.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my writing today. If you enjoyed this piece, please like, comment, and/or share it. This helps me know which posts my readers enjoy the most.