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September 4, 2017 | Nonfiction

260 Saturdays

Jody Kennedy

260 Saturdays photo

We wiped down, scraped, rearranged, shook out, swept, mopped, vacuumed, stripped, waxed, sealed. We spit, rubbed, polished, shined, dusted baseboards, picture frames, mirrors, windows and window ledges, medicine cabinets, dining room chairs, lampshades and bedroom closets filled with hatboxes. We washed, ironed, pressed, starched, folded pillowcases, fitted sheets, cotton dresses, white undershirts, our brother’s hunting socks. We scrubbed, soaped, soaked, rinsed, dried, stacked your gold filigree plates, your thick glass bowls, your springform cake pans, your coffee cups. We brushed, bleached, sprayed, disinfected, sink drains, grout lines, ceramic tiles, toilet handles, and staircase railings. In the garden (among the jack-in-the-pulpits and ferns), we raked, plucked, pinched, cropped, pruned, snipped your faded morning glories, your lilies of the valley, your hollyhocks bent and weeping already by mid-September but it still wasn’t enough to drive away the smudge marks, the sweat stains, the mildew, the cobwebs, the soot, the hornets, the flies, the caterpillars, the weevils, our tender-footed breasts and our menses, your graying hair and thickening waist, the death of your favorite son, and the first of that Midwest killing frost, the one that always brought winter’s fierceness too quickly on its coattails.

 

image: Aaron Burch


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