Iowa Writes

PATRICIA BALLARD COFFIE
Insistence


White house, green grass, small heart-shaped leaves on the lilacs, smaller spring green leaves on the maples.  Homemade white swingset with porch swing and a child's wooden swing, under one maple.

Shades of brown in the wet branches and tree trunks.  Shades of black in the soft wet earth smooth around the tree trunks and scuffed into velvet under the swings.  Wet not of rain but of heavy dew.

Grass not yet mowed even once swishing against shoes as she walks to the car.  Silver dew drops at the tip of heart-shaped lilac leaves; at the sharp points on the maple leaves; all along every bar of the swingset and at the tips of blades of grass.  A silver sparkle in each drop from the pale light of the early sun.

White house, green grass, small heart-shaped leaves on the lilacs, smaller spring green leaves on the maples.  Homemade white swingset with porch swing and a child's wooden swing, under one maple.

Shades of brown in the wet branches and tree trunks.  Shades of black in the soft wet earth smooth around the tree trunks and scuffed into velvet under the swings.  Wet not of rain but of heavy dew.

Grass not yet mowed even once swishing against shoes as she walks to the car.  Silver dew drops at the tip of heart-shaped lilac leaves; at the sharp points on the maple leaves; all along every bar of the swingset and at the tips of blades of grass.  A silver sparkle in each drop from the pale light of the early sun.

The car door handle smooth and cool and wet--opened softly; slammed shut.  Tears running down her face. 

"Life is crap.  What is this morning doing here?"  Her voice and the engine breaking the silence at the same time.

The dog not outside yet.  No walkers, no runners.  No wind.  No birds.  No sound but her voice and the racing engine.  Anger.  Anger.

A look back at the swingset white against the rich browns and blacks and greens and all sparkling with silver drops.  Stark pure beauty.  Undeniable and painful.

No answer.  No one to answer.  No thing to answer.  Alone and hurting.  Alone and more alone.

Brown and black and gray of the gravel.  Angry shift and out the driveway.  Glass and glasses fogged by the moisture of the morning, including the tears.

No answer for months but no escaping that question; that morning.

Answers came.  They flowed and changed then settled gradually until she knew.  That morning was spring and beauty, hope and renewal, insistent upon recognition.

more

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


PATRICIA BALLARD COFFIE

Patricia Ballard Coffie writes and tells stories from home. Her family is Iowan for six generations, back to the 1840s. She has served as president of the Iowa Library Association and the Northlands Storytelling Network, a five-state organization. She has served on the Board of the National Storytelling Network.

This page was first displayed
on October 02, 2006

Find us on Facebook