Runway

stormcoming c/o petergreenberg.com

Published here

We were in starry sky stretching to glimpse the lights of San Francisco past our seat-mates one minute and the next we were surrounded by dark fog bouncing and knocking shoulders, certain we would collide with Mt. Diablo or another plane. My ears were ringing like Christmas at the cathedral. Our jet shook and dipped and maybe dropped through the fog and then, Bam! we felt a huge hand-like slap on our plane. We startled and were screaming and trying to inventory the engines while the Captain’s voice apologized for turbulence. We dropped out of the fog into dark night with bright lights and smashed onto the concrete runway like a carton of eggs.

Rattled, hurried, subdued, we were herded to the jump chute exits by a terse, pale steward, who was ignoring a forcefully cheerful forty-something stewardess whispering behind her teeth like a ventriloquist: “Is it on fire?” They had us hop outward feet first, while crossing our arms on our chests. A woman seemed to snare her feet on the inflated ramp and bounced face forward onto the pavement where she lay still. Two uniformed men with Red Cross insignias on their sleeves bent over her while the police gathered the rest of us into an old yellow bus out of the drizzle that had already penetrated my light jacket. The bus said ‘St. Francis Academy’ on it. Continue reading

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High Water

pubbed here

Willy was born delighted in the middle of a rainstorm that threatened to flood the root cellar where they were hiding from the lightning. She had wide-open blue eyes. Her tiny expressive face soundlessly oohed and aahed and grimaced and startled with each feeling from the very beginning and, soon, she had a coo of contentment that nurtured her mother and then a three-tone song of a laugh that always made her siblings smile. Thunderstorms and floods threatened them so often but Willy’s birth let Mama engage with them easier from then on.
By age two, she had become the sixth oldest for the second time when her mama got sick in child birth and by four she was fifth oldest again when she stopped seeing Ezreel, who used to feed the pigs. She knew every inch of the farmyard and garden, had her own names for every chicken, pig, cow and horse on the place and could boil water on the stove, if mama was there. Continue reading

A Little Help?

               pubbed here 

Hey, is anyone out there a chiropractor?

I think I’m going to need you to come over.  My shoulder is so bad I can’t even tuck in my shirt, anymore.  Well, I can, but it hurts like bulldozers and that scares me.  Don’t ask me to reach the Wheaties.  In fact, if I don’t get better soon, we’ll have to move everything down a notch:  the coffee cups, the Frosted Flakes, the juice glasses; you know.

And we don’t drive.

I started needing a doctor when the roof leaked.  Mid-morning, Wednesday, my mom was cleaning up the water from the leak in the kitchen, where what looks like a tiny orange freckle in the ceiling feeds the Great Lake, she calls it, right in front of the fridge.

She bent down to wipe it, when her feet started going out and she sat down hard, just missing one of the cats.  Momma’s built for town, you might say, so I thought somebody had thrown a boulder against the house.  When I found her I was on my way to yell at the neighbor kids again.  She was clutching her robe shut and missing a slipper, where four little toe robins were begging from a big hooky-beak momma toe.  Her eyes were still big with pain, while she accidentally did fat lady yoga.

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