A patchwork of rough, hitched cotton over a heritage of skinned knees, heart disease, vast arrays of farmland land-fill wonder. Ruth’s mother, a smoldering youthful seamstress in a lamp lit room. Water stains, a halo beyond her pinned tight hair. And heaved floors, true matriarchs of log homes, homesteading cabins, outbuildings, demise. She pedals the Singer, hums a hymn, thinks of obliteration now Dark Angels, now girlhood friends. Deep into her roots she reaches, fingernails thick with toil & potatoes & neglect the Midwest dust descending like lanolin into her pores, dry for mosquitoes in spring, nosebleeding air beyond autumn, November. After funnel clouds, bulbous with hatred, prime the topsoil, debris, lawn chairs, small fractions of iron-age implements & mother’s cellar door for transfer to slaughter— She, a nameless bonnet beneath stateless origins behind bar-less fences beyond waterless clouds, strikes an inherited match to light his pipe. Lingers in smoke dense as loamy cream, sucks it in through her nose like a lady nursing a sigh. She could be a thimble, a nail, saddle tack, a wellspring whatever the clay eats in baked over pasture, daylight wringing out the white-top and the clover, leaving acres of octagonal mud pans as barren as his hands, stones beneath his callouses. Hardwood beneath his chest. Roots chain her to this cabin and in this cabin she stays apart from world wonders—hell, even the state fair—on the other side of free. On the lined side of the paper, a list, first she has stitch-counting fingertips, her dough-kneading roots end in palms full of capillaries. She has dirty blonde waking hours and melanotic churning sleep. On Tuesdays, pipe smoke until he takes his 15 minute nap. She has Wednesdays, fields Wednesdays, tillage Wednesdays, exceeding Wednesdays, destruction Wednesdays, to take care of Wednesdays, youth Sundays— there, in the background She, in ag-land grade school takes up the virgin, traditionless hands of her pigtailed friend, holds them over springtime alfalfa whispers a hymn—rain song for freckles to collapse beneath motherhood
S.A. Leger is a biologist and writer from Colorado. After studying zoology and English at Colorado State University, she spent time researching the flora and fauna of Tasmania, of the islands of Puget Sound during her masters, and for the last six years, of Newfoundland. Leger currently works as a marine biologist aboard the Ramform Hyperion.