Tuesday, November 22, 2016

#SOL16: A Portrait

 And Still the Birds Came (M.A. Reilly, Leonia, NJ, 2012)


Some memories steal upon us and feel embodied. This is no different and I wonder if I might have conjured my dead husband from a spell I have known by heart. Here in the still dark morning he has dimension, a scent I have tasted, have worn on my skin. Did I form him from the deep ache in my side--bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh?

No, he is not rib. More likely I have spun him from his own ashes, like the stardust God conjured Adam. And this sighting sends me back through the years to an ordinary afternoon where we each fit side by side.


As I  enter through the front door, I see he is seated at the round table at the back of the house in our kitchen. He glances up, the newspaper spread before him, the off white mug with the image of a black lab sitting to his right. And I know without any testing that the coffee in the mug will be hours cold. The day has surely been foggy and I have been out walking through fields and woods for hours and have returned with the camera bag slung over my shoulder.

"You're back," he'll say. 

And I close the door, leaving the bag in the hallway and start towards him. The damp chill that has clung to the oversized sweatshirt--his Maine sweatshirt--unfurls like a banner, like a flag as I pull the sweatshirt over my head and drop it on a chair. Here it is warm even though the day beyond is not.

And I want to unwind this moment, to savor the very sight of him: the way his lips part as he grins, the way he looks at me over the rim of his glasses that rest on the bridge of his nose, the way his hair, that never grayed, is pulled back and tied with a leather strip. And I wonder now, was he always so pleased to see me home?

"So, did you get some good shots?" he'll ask.

"I think I got a couple of good ones," I'll say, rounding the table so I can lean down to kiss his perfect upturned mouth.


This was us.
Just this.


  1. What a ritual, frozen so beautifully. One that is so universal and so particular. There is no ritual I miss more.
    With you, friend.

  2. A simple, exquisite moment. Life. Thank you.

  3. A fragile, fleeting moment. Beautiful love. Woven in the fabric of life. Forever with us. Thank you.

  4. I will look at my husband differently today. Oh, what we take for granted and is so fleeting...

  5. I will look at my husband differently today. Oh, what we take for granted and is so fleeting...

  6. Perfectly distilled - "this is us".

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