She wrote him letters. About the time he read Neruda’s poetry to her when she was ill, the time he ran outside in the rain to fetch the chapstick from her car, the time he brought her daisies after driving to three florists in his search, only to discover they grew wild behind an abandoned farmhouse two miles from their home. She trusted their past. The memories in her letters steadied him, and with her words, his life felt more vibrant. For a year, he returned her letters with postcards, writing nothing except his next address. He moved often, life snaking through back-country roads, as elliptical as her handwriting. Her words would find him wherever he went. A letter had arrived that October morning.
Jennifer Mills Kerr's short fiction, memoir, and poetry have been published in The Dickens Literary Review, Flashquake, and First Leaves Journal, among others. An East Coast native, she is a lover of mild winters, anything Jane Austen, and the raucous coastline of Northern California. You can read more of her creative work at www.JenniferMillsKerr.us.
rain snakes along window panes in tiny beating streams tap-tapping against the roof and walls while I read words on the page another steady flow– “a note was sent to the warden begging his attendance…” I slip along this tale and dream, rain tap-tapping against window panes; outside, the sky shifts light, swinging a cloak […]
Today, Madeline Sharpton told everyone at school that I had herpes. She’s a mean girl, practically six feet tall, and that tall-ness gives her a weird authority in the world of middle school. All the other students believed her–including my so-called friends. I’m only thirteen, but it must be the worst day in my life forever.
Once I had my hair down to my waist, a gap between my teeth. I believed in the power of music, that it could change the world. My name is Charlotte by the way. My father used to say that I was too big for my britches. Who uses the word “britches” these days? Though Dad said that a long time ago–we’re talking the 70s. I’m an old(er) lady now, and Dad’s long gone.
We will always live in moments of uncertainty. I have no idea what the future will bring, not only for me, but for our country. The page, however, refutes uncertainty. It is a white canvas, destined for creation, and within its square space, holds the promise of an affirmation. Even while describing loss, our words are born, again and again and again.
Art is a conversation. We absorb our worlds, consciously and unconsciously, and when we create art, we’re expressing those experiences, whatever they may be. With the shelter-in-place order, I no longer spent my days teaching in a high school classroom. My ears rang, not with the usual buzz of my 130 students, but with an unfamiliar silence. I felt myself floating in a bubble of space and solitude, listening rather than speaking, an exchange student in a new land.