She arrived in the small town pinched and empty from her everyday tasks, and so when her grandmother said, "You lay your tired head down and I'll fix you some of that soup you like so much," her eyes filled, she put her sticky cheek on the sundried pillowcase, and her smart urban life slipped off her like an unwelcome rash of itches.
"I'm leaving Lloyd," she told her grandmother, thinking of the hot, stuffy marriage with too many walls.
Her grandparents' house had a pine in the front yard that looked over the house, and it murmured and sighed in the night and was home to talkative blackbirds in the morning. The town had sidewalks but no curbs, and cats padded across the streets with boneless ease, in no particular hurry. In chest freezers all over town there were ruby-colored, puckery rhubarb pies with buttery crusts and last summer's green beans grown out back in the gardens' good dirt.
The African violets with their furry hands sitting in the sunny embrace of the bay window, the dresser drawers with lace hankies in them, the house's own smell of brown sugar and old women friends deep in its pores smoothed a jagged piece stuck in her throat and she was able to swallow.
The Daily Palette Vintage--featuring Iowa Writes
Jane Banning was born and raised in Mason City, Iowa. She received her BA from Iowa State University and MA from the University of Wisconsin. She now lives in Oregon, Wisconsin with her husband, son, and their dog, Thunder.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
This page was originally published on December 04, 2008.