Unsent Letter #47
by Sheri Benning
Gray nap of false dawn held in the glass of water I left beside the lamp
the night before. It’s May. The moment in bed before we rise, when dream
has not yet given way to what we can bite into. Or a thin taper –
skittish flame, and, in any breath, only the smoke-
tail of some burrowing animal.
The trick of May is to believe with empty hands. And then always, after we fail
at faith, small-fires of crocus or bluebell snag the eye.
But Cory it’s been raining for weeks and
elms are old men sitting on the porch of the local hotel. Cartilage-worn,
they hum country songs of bone on bone. This is all
there is. You told me once that sky in the May of your childhood, Grenfell,
south of Regina, is the colour of your old blue t-shirt. Maybe
someone has said it better, you thought. Maybe not.
Somewhere I read that Renoir believed what survives
the artist is the feeling he gives through objects. This morning, stretched
across its heart, sky wears a t-shirt rubbed butterfly-thin by so many slow Saturday mornings, coffee and a newspaper, sleep-thick limbs.
Cory it’s been raining for weeks, but as I write this two boys throw a tennis ball
at a garage door. Small-fire pulse of sun at the corner of eye. This is all there is.
I have traveled for a season and at the end of my hunger, who could imagine
such abundance! A last swallow of cold coffee, the slap of boy-shouts and a ball.
Sky, old-t-shirt blue, woven of so-many petals of rain.
Sheri Benning trails off mid-sentence, forgets.