by Christina Frei
We all wish we could rewind our lives.
That bed on which the baby lay sleeping
had no sides. I was too small to express my guilt
in words. My dreams are populated
by subtle reminders, shy of daylight.
The woods and fields where you walked your dog
are gone. She would run just ahead of you,
tail in the air. We should have seen it coming.
The filtered light coming through the curtains
at dusk, the sounds of porcelain dishes clattering
from downstairs. When you go back, listen.
Don’t try to repaint the past. You need
to get close enough to see its wrinkles, hear
the pulsing of its blue veins. Why did we
insist on filling those empty silences
with words. Remember how it was
when she knew she would be going
and we pretended not to understand?
I sat on a bench and tried to think
of something else to say, anything.
The hands of the clock on the tiled kitchen wall
spin around, faster and faster. There is no time
like the present. She said: what matters
is that you are here. I can still recall
the heat from the palms of her hands.
Missing puzzle pieces and sundry irritations,
friends who suddenly stop calling, they all
keep me awake. I add these murky troubles
to my growing pile of moss-covered stones
to be dealt with later. They clamor nightly
for my attention, begging for forgiveness.
Christina Frei grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, and has been
living as an ex-pat with her family since 2001, both in Senegal and
the Netherlands. Her poetry has recently been published in Red
River Review, Turbulence Magazine, and Bareback.
“Disquietude” came out of an exercise I was engaged in last
spring. I was meditating on different ways to evoke that
feeling of regret that you get at certain moments, such as
when you can’t sleep, and how these worries or bad
decisions show up to haunt you just when you least expect
them. It’s an idea that I tried to describe with concrete as
well as abstract images.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 8, Number 1
Copyright © 2013
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors