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Page 50

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The Black Bible

I'd glimpsed a bible someone
had carelessly tossed in a pile
of used board games and clothes
meant for the Goodwill; just
a simple, thick black bible, its
edges just beginning to curl,
and I thought about the Lord,
what he meant in people's lives.
I looked back on my own, to
the time when I was only a child,
learning, memorizing verses in
Sunday school for a prize, long
before I knew I was going to be
broken by an abusive mother,
before the eastern Indian I had
run to broke me irreparably and
the nightmare of years that followed.
My prayers were forgotten, my voice
stolen, and I'd never laid eyes again
on a bible until now. A grain of me
remembered the day Mrs. Bayliss
the Sunday schoolteacher said God
loves you unconditionally. I didn't
give a whit, but a tiny part of me
stroked the cover of the bible,
wishing his love hadn't spilled
so little on me.

  Bobbi Sinha-Morey__

A Pinpoint of Sunlight

In the window only a pinpoint
of sunlight and I gazed again
at our neighbor's empty porch,
so bare of life; for months
no one had come, not even in
the cold weather when all you
had to do was wear a warm
sweater. I thought of Carl who
lived there, his pipeline for
zest, friends, and attention.
He and his wife must be
lonely; the only one who'd
ever come was Donna who
would drop her dog off when
she'd go into town. I saw
the unhappy look on his face
one day; and, before then,
a part of his neglected garden,
a bush so brown and dying up
against the house. The very
last time I saw him tending
the lawn—a man on the verge
of eighty five, and my heart
tightened seeing the strained
look on his face and him
pushing the lawn mower out
of his sheer force of will.
I wish he didn't have to be
so vain, and I prompted my
husband to bring him over
one of The Cake Lady's pies,
hoping soon a robin peering
under its wing will brighten
his skies.

  Bobbi Sinha-Morey__

Silently Hidden

Recreational vehicles were right
up there above my home and
everyone else's in the mobile home
park I'd so seldom seen or even
thought of unless it was to use my
husband's blue truck. One day I'd
seen them much closer, so silently
hidden away from everything,
penned in a mesh wire fence as
if they'd slipped inside without
me seeing in the night. In daylight
hours no one ever noticed them
but in the hottest month when
the wildfires hit, smoke rising its
highest in the sky, senior citizens
who lived about drove to the coast,
but not one of them owned an RV;
only the very few who could afford
them were too old to use them.
One RV looked so neglected it
needed fixing. I crept inside
the fence, always unlocked,
examined the RV I had my eyes
on. It must've been five years
since it hadn't been touched. With
the park manager's permission
I had a project in store for
myself: renovate the big thing
from inside out and it will be
all mine for the rest of my life.

  Bobbi Sinha-Morey__

The Magpies

The magpies are back. It's strange
to think how much I hated them
when I first came to the house.
I remember coming up the drive
in the taxi from the station, seeing
them lined up along the garden
wall like that, preening their
feathers. Today there was one
perched on the frost-rimed branch
of yew right outside my window
and I flicked my hand at him as
if I were driving away bad luck.
Then I started counting others
that came while I dressed,
shivering next to the window.
One on the yew tree. A second
one on the weather vane of
the folly. A third on the wall
of the kitchen garden. And for
a moment it scared me thinking
it seemed like an omen. Then
there were more on the frozen
lawn. Four, five... six... and one
hopping across the flags of the
terrace, pecking at the ice on
the covers over the table and
chairs. I closed my eyes,
wishing all of them would
fly away and just leave me

  Bobbi Sinha-Morey__