The Rest of Me By Sherri Collins

September 19, 2013 Comments Off on The Rest of Me By Sherri Collins

Part of me rests at the bottom of Serenity Lake. My bones are trapped under the weight of logs and weeds and decades of debris. Catfish tickle my arms, searching for a morsel not yet found, but I have nothing more to give. Other than you, the fish are the only ones who know where I am, but they’ve kept your secret for thirty-two years. Rather than resent them for their silence, I whisper stories to them, hoping one will stay and keep me company. I have seen their children and their children’s children, but I am still alone. All I have is a tattered shawl, borrowed from my older sister, that swishes and sways with the currents, keeping my shoulders bound. The seasons’ elements have made the fabric as coarse as a shipyard’s rope, reminding me of my sister’s protective embrace.

The rest of me hangs on your studio wall. In the painting, I am sulking and impatient, hoping you will hurry so that we can return to the blanket under the trees. Your kiss is still moist on my lips, and I’m anxious to learn more about you, to discover what hides behind your intensity. My sister’s warnings about you have been left behind, as there is no room for them here among the aspens. You asked me to smile for the portrait, but I decide to be sassy instead, thinking you will like my spirit. You paint me as I am and, later, hang me across from the other girls. Some have tilted their faces toward the sun, some sit along a riverbank, some stand under a streetlight. Many of them are smiling, and perhaps it is because you asked them to. Perhaps they couldn’t help themselves under your observation. My own impudent expression will forever look out at them, wondering who they are.

I whisper to the catfish, are they here? Tell me their stories. But they tell me nothing. My sister’s shawl sways gently and shoos them away.

© 2013 Sherri Collins

Sherri Collins lives in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  Her work can be found in Bartleby SnopesThe Big Jewel, and The Molotov Cocktail, among others

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