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Dina Hardy grew up in a small town called LeRoy. (She has noticed that this name seems to make people laugh.) The town is in western New York where the cows out-numbered the people at least 4 to 1. Dina is the author and illustrator of the book Grocery Shopping with Roy Lichtenstein (Spout Graphic Press.) Her work has appeared in Runes and Inscape, and has been anthologized in Mischief, Caprice and Other Poetic Strategies (Red Hen Press) and So Luminous the Wildflowers (Tebot Bach.) She currently lives in Burbank, CA where she is a recovering motorcyclist. She considers herself fortunate to be able to attend numerous workshops and readings in the LA area. 

Stitching Up the Past

El mundo es un pañuelo, “It’s a small world.” Spanish, Lit: 
‘The world is a handkerchief.’ Grooved pie, pt. v. slang, to leave

The past is a handkerchief he irons, folds four times, 
then tucks into his breast pocket. Hours-old coffee
varnishes his tongue as he swigs. Constant humming 
comes from the fish tank. By the door, a cat sleeps, 
nose open to the threshold, the smell of wet earth. 

He pats down the lump of fabric over his heart, feels 
picket fences and lemonade on a day hotter than this one, 
perched on a porch swing, on Spencer Avenue 
in Batchelor, Louisiana, about to pop the question 
to Sharon Barron. That was a beautiful day. That was
the worst day of his life, but in captivity, goldfish stop growing 
when they reach four inches. They expand three fold 
if they can escape domestication. Really, it was a relief 
she said No. So, he grooved pie out of the south and settled west 
because that’s where the sun sleeps and he needed the light. 
Mira, chico, there was nothing left to do but buy a bible. 

Blind eyes of time, thick with cataracts and the sharp focus 
that comes with news that your first love has died. He feeds 
the fish with memories, turns the cat to air, leaves,
and crosses paths with Diana, his neighbor, 
who was Sharon’s best friend in college, 
because after all, it is a small world. She was the one 
who broke the news to him this morning, now declares,
Any doubts you may have will disappear
early next month,
as if this cardboard wisdom
will transform the pain into linen.

El mundo es un pañuelo, he thinks. His car embraces him 
while the rain beats syncopation on the windshield. 
The corners of his world have been unraveling for awhile,
until now, he convinces himself, now as he weaves 
into rush hour traffic to retrace the creases of the last forty years.


photo © 2001 Mark Eastman

© 2003 Dina Hardy

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