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Gossip


by Gita M. Smith


 Crows spread their rumors overhead, some of them believed by jays who take up the cry.
I wear a careless Saturday hairdo and a half-buttoned coat.
I walk in step to a soundtrack of my own composing,
in slow 4/4 time.
This day is no more meaningful than the pillow I left behind on the bed with the imprint of my cheek or a candle on a birthday cake which has a minute of usefulness and is discarded.

Time runs together into more time, which is then forgotten.

I'm neither old nor young on this ruddy day that smells like autumn and is wrapped in light and the gossiping calls of crows.

I roll my grandfather to the park where the scents of wet leaves and wood smoke have touched off olfactory synapses, our strongest links to childhood.
He is now only the shell of my grandfather, his once-strong facial bones collapsed, his ropey eyebrows like circumflexes atop the confused Os of his eyes.

His face spreads wide in a smile of pleasure at the sight of a black Lab leaping for a Frisbee. One withered arm rises slowly in the dog's direction and he calls, "Catch it boy, good boy, good Sparky!"


We sit together on a green park bench, dreamers both; grandfather chases a long-ago dog through the flaming autumn maples of Quebec, and I chase a not-yet-written short story to its conclusion.

He tells me scandalous anecdotes about the neighbors, cheats and priests he knew 88 years before, while the sun races the clouds towards the horizon. We are delighted by his long-ago gossip, both the telling of it and the listening, and for this one golden afternoon, we are both children again.

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