My grandmother's perfect nails, buffed and well nourished,made her large hands graceful, butter knife shining in the morning lightas she spread marshmallow fluff and peanut butterin Wonder Bread she did not eat. In this memory, the tile glittersin her stately illumination—she outshinesthe ripe raspberries and folded linen towel.When my mother was a girl, is this how it was? The same sweetnessbetween them, given but never shared together,the same shine from my grandmother's calculated elegance?Her tidy house, the rooms ordered and aired outin the Pacific's frosted bloom: she watches from the beachas my mother climbs cold waves, a solitary swim.The bread in my small mouth was rich as cake,somersaulting in my belly as my grandfather and Iwalked to the lake to feed the ducks. Now, sometimes,when I smooth my skirt or apply lotion to my face—or in the kitchen when the butter knife catches the light—I feel the sandwich there still, like a seed, a pearl.
Copyright © 2019 by Hannah Marshall
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Hannah Marshall lives in south-central Illinois, where she works as advising editor for Greenville University’s literary journal, The Scriblerus, and as a poetry editor for Converse College’s South 85. Her poems have appeared in New Ohio Review, The Madison Review, Anglican Theological Review, Chiron Review, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate at Converse College’s low-residency program.
The editors of Rock & Sling believe that the act of writing and of reading literature is a way of witnessing to the truth of experience, drilling down to the core of language’s vitality, and accepting an understanding of artistic language as a kind of testimony. The word “Witness” means to testify: to tell the truth. The demands of the word are bracing in its charge to the writer to understand that his and her work matters not just as expressions of experiences and responses but as an active language engaged morally as well as aesthetically. To tell the truth is an act of responsibility as well as an expression of hope. To testify is an act of responsibility as well as an expression of faith.
Rock & Sling is a literary journal of witness, published twice a year at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Rock & Sling was founded in 2004 by Susan Cowger, and came to Whitworth in 2010. We are a member of the CLMP and distributed nationwide by Ubiquity Distribution.