Tuinman – Erie Belle

Erie Belle

 
Erie Belle, named for a lake and a sea captain’s ship,
last night I dreamed my way into your house
peeled flowery vinyl from your bedroom wall,
laughed at layers of Christmas wrap beneath

Sunday shoes emptied inside the closet,
paint-gummed hinges, glass knob draped with stockings,
I touched your lamb’s wool coat and
embroidered yoke of your nightgown.
Between lacquered pearls coiled on the dresser,
clip-ons and screw-backed rhinestones clustered inside doilies,
I twisted out a bloom of dusty rose lipstick,
painted flowers on my mouth,
Frosted my hands with Vanda cream;
My skin now resembles yours with
Blue icing piped criss-cross over tendons

Brat-pack crooners spun on your record player while
ecru lace imprinted elbows propped on the table
Coleslaw, fried chicken, a side of That’s Amoré;
Doris Day sang lemon meringue onto my fork,
Scotch tape footsteps across sugary kitchen floor led to
plates looming topsy-turvy beside
wrought iron fry pans milky with bacon fat and
crispy butter-fried bits of sunshine

You loved teacups married to saucers and
collector spoons from other people’s travels,
Kumbaya in the living room and me singing to your mission circle,
You loved crochet hooks and bargain store wool
game shows buzzers and To Tell The Truth,
You loved your first love and he loved you in return
long after he’d forgotten your name

Last night I tried to levy your
lily-of-the-valley and peppermint presence in a dream.
Thought I heard the baritone trill of a porch door spring
but it was only a sleight of nostalgia
so strong my hope to resurrect you

I loved your octogenarian glow of girlish sweetness
And how you made an ordinary little girl feel extraordinary
in dog days of July,
I straightened Gainsborough’s Pinky and Blue Boy
against a dark panelled wall then
ventured outside to search for you in cicada songs


Gwen’s Bio