Diane Helentjaris uncovers the overlooked. Her latest book Diaspora is a poetry chapbook of the aftermath of immigration. www.dianehelentjaris.com
Dreams and the Doctor
Dreams reflect our days like the shards of a broken mirror — the bits and pieces of our awake time, reformed and reassembled and patched,
Bored, I went to my bedroom, reached in the peanut butter jar, holes punched in the lid, and grabbed the chrysalis.
The murder had been easy, surprisingly so. Adam whistled tunelessly as he puttered around the shop. He refilled the brass holder with business cards and straightened out the stack of “Visit Middleburg” brochures. Outside the antique shop, the light was starting to fail. The days were so short in November. They’d be short in Puerto Rico, too, but they’d also be warm. He hated the cold.
Hers was the first stomach I ever pumped. I stood by the semiconscious teenager’s head and chanted under my breath “In with the good, out with the bad.” The unrelenting light in the Emergency Department hid nothing. With an experienced doctor walking me through it, I had inserted the tube. I snaked it through her nose and ran it all the way down into her stomach. The stomach full of a mishmash of capsules and tablets. Now I was pouring a black slurry of charcoal into the tubing, letting it rest a minute, then drawing her stomach contents out. As I look back, the interaction reminds me of a later patient. The man roused himself during what docs call a “procedure” and asked, “Who convened this satanic coven?” Who, indeed?
The Importance of Poker
Our eight identical blue eyes quietly stared at her, as a pack of wolves would a sick deer. With a floral house dress floating over her plumpish body, seventy-four-year old Mrs. Ramsey looked like one of our great aunts. Piece of cake – we’d run her off in no time. After all, we’d dispatched five babysitters in the year since Mom started working.
Tony and Charlotte
The still air and warm sun beguiled me into thinking I knew what the day would bring. Of course, I was wrong. I thought I would be meeting my new dogs, but instead, I met my latest mentors.
‘This Fire in Me to Create’
The original shopper certainly must have paid a good price for the curtain. Textured as only real silk can be, the coral, bronze, and teal panel would have added warmth and sophistication to any home. But by unknowable means, the discarded piece made its way to a Georgia thrift shop and waited. Waited to be purchased for less than a dollar, waited to be hung on another curtain rod.
Flour Sacks: a Message for Today
Ninety-year-old George Reier is ready. Always. His car is gassed up, his frig full, and his garden weeds pulled. As a farm boy in Cranberry Prairie, Ohio, he learned to take care of things. Later, in the Marines, George was in charge of supplies. I was not surprised this week that when I mentioned flour sacks to George, he ferreted out one from the bottom of his cedar chest in five minutes flat. Pristine and clean as the day it was made, the red, white, and blue ribbon pattern reflect Depression aesthetics. The bright cotton bag also reflects Depression ingenuity and a partnership between industry and a suffering people.