Turn around and there outside, through the window just over your kitchen sink, you see the sky turning dark, the trees stark against it like bony fingers. Your mind turns and turns, from one dark place to another. The candles gutter out. No moon. Swallowed up in the dark window, your dark turn of mind.
What do you do now? What pulls you back from the edge, gets you through the night, through that dark turn of mind that always leads to a dead end?
You finger the fraying edge of a quilt, the one passed down and down, the one with a name like Winding Way or Carolina Lily. Or maybe you walk out to the porch if it's summer and fondle the morning glory vines climbing up the trellis. They keep reaching with their pretty blooms, these flowers, these quilts, these dried sprigs of lavender a friend gave you. That little touch of lace at the hem of your nightgown. That little ribbon of song you sing.
Your pretties. You hold them fast against theft. You hoard them against dark hairpin turns. Switchbacks
that scatter a woman's thoughts if taken too fast.
Your own thoughts. You gather them up for safekeeping.
You keep them warm against your breast, like the bird lying dazed on the grass beneath your window. You cradled it a long time until you felt the wings stir. You opened your hands. There it sat, gathering itself, getting ready. And then it flew ...