BellaOnline Literary Review
Gentle Face by Christine Catalano

Table of Contents



Sharon A. Larsen

When the wind howls like this I want to tear my life to pieces.
Rip it like fabric, selvage to selvage to selvage,
the way it says in the Bible --
to rend clothes in grief.
Not a small tear, so you have to look to see it.
I want something ripped in two
or three or as many pieces as it takes.
There have been too many deaths in my life.

Once, long ago, I rode home with a boy I loved
and I said, "Look at the leaves,
how they stampede across the road.
Where are they going?"
Within a year he was drafted,
became a helicopter pilot
flying soldiers out of combat
in Vietnam, a dangerous job.
I look for his name on the Vietnam memorial
and canīt find it so I think he made it.
But I donīt know. We parted before he left.
I never heard from him again.

If I had a clothesline
I would hang out the sheets I shared with my husband
and let the wind fill them like sails,
rip them and drive them across fields shorn of crops,
the dry stalks sticking up from muddy ground,
ensnaring the fabric.
I would run behind the sheets,
freeing them when they caught,
let the sheets fly with the wind
higher, higher,
out of my sight
out of my life.

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