by Louise Yeiser
The old wooden trunk with its chipped corners, scratched sides and two-inch wide leather straps that once held it tight, is filled with dreams that pop out, hand in hand with the strong smell of cedar, every time I open the lid. My mother bent over her work in a straight-backed chair at her sewing table, among folds and folds of material cascading from her lap, with many-colored patches of fabric neatly piled, with even edges, into the basket at her feet that were as bare as the dark, wooden floor. She worked with white and lavender, folded at the bottom of the bed in my guest room, and pink and beige, which is on my niece’s bed in Florida, and lemon and green in a quilt whose whereabouts I lost track of. When she could no longer quilt, she stored her new squares, her old favorites and all her leftovers in the trunk for safekeeping, so on special days, like her birthday or the anniversary of her death or her wedding to my father, I almost tiptoe around my bed and sit cross-legged on the floor in front of it. Slowly, so slowly, I lift the lid to savor the colors escaping into the air and listen to the song of her humming and stitching, and I breathe my fill of the memories and the cedar and all the goodness which is the only part I want to remember. And for just a quick piece of a moment, I can step back into an improved, silky-sweet version of yesterday and relive it the way I always wanted.
Louise Yeiser, whose full catalog is here, has been published in print in Kerlak’s Modern Witches, Wizards and Magic, and Six Sentences, Volume 1. Her work appears online at Tuesday Shorts, Flashquake, and Long Story Short. Her blog is here. She studies creative writing at Carlow University in Pittsburgh and Ireland. (And she knits.)