June is a Farmer’s Wife
by Tace Halliday
“My Love,” she says. “What it is like to spread your hands over the land and bless it? Bless it green.”
Through the dining room window I see my fields as the sun falls to the earth and blades light across the green canopy that grows more skyward everyday.
I think about what she is saying, and for a moment, I can’t help picturing myself dressed in long robes droning out incantations and blessings over the fields. I almost smile at this but quickly come back to her world where everything is heavy. I tell her, “It’s not like that…”
“It must be. You keep doing it. You never leave it.”
“I could say the same of you. The children, our home…”
Her sigh escapes slowly, the cavity holding her discontent tipping out its reserves. My comprehension has been found wanting.
With dinner over, we have been watching our children, a son and a daughter, as they play outside the window with the pinwheels I brought back from town after a day at the market. Together they run with their toys held high, sometimes stopping to let the wind gust and bate, let each draft of energy spin the plastic wings to father flashes of color and light.
June now pushes the dirtied plates and the emptied serving dishes out of her way. She lays her hands across our table, her palms before me as if she’s asking for a blessing.
“What I do…it’s nothing,” she says.
I’ve heard this before. She’s weary of the outdoors that always finds its way to rest on her kitchen floor. Or the laundry that must be hung out to dry, a chore that she says grows and grows and never dies. I see it all, this ordinary life, and these same things that need doing again and again.
For now I pass over her hands to skim the tender flesh at the crook of one arm. At my touch she closes her eyes and eases away from this day’s light, her head now cushioned on one outstretched arm, and for that moment she rests as my beloved.
Finally, I do take her hands in mine. To me they are like the pinwheels, each bringing joy and comfort in their steady spinning, always spinning, unless… Sometimes the earth isn’t strong enough to assemble the wind to keep the blades going. That’s when I’ll spin them for her. Or let them rest, until the vents open up again, blasting the air in its circuits to find her, (always she must be found and blessed), sustaining her against days so perfect and ordered until in some future, I pray, she will know that the beauty is in the doing.
© Copyright 2010 Stacey Smith. All rights reserved.
Tace Halliday lives in South Texas with her husband and three sons. She maintains the blog Entropified. Her last story for the Rose City Sisters was “Jelly Jar.”
4 thoughts on “June is a Farmer’s Wife”
What a great example of the old adage, “Show don’t tell.” Not once are we told that she is depressed, sad, discouraged, or insecure about her value in the world, and yet we get such a clear picture of a woman who so undervalues herself and the work that she does. Very nicely done.
This “the cavity holding her discontent tipping out its reserves.” is just one example of your lyrical style, which just stopped me in my tracks. Amazing talent. Lovely piece.
Two kind and thoughtful comments. Thank you, ladies! (And Lynn, that’s my favorite line too.)
A poem as much as a story, and I mean that in a good way. What Margaret and Lynn said!