#183 Picture of a Hymn

by AnnaLisa Michalski

The roar of a car peeling out of the dirt and gravel lot, a loud crack closer. Tanya heard it through the bathroom door, over the lukewarm water dribbling over her ears. She yanked the door open.

“You kids okay?”

Angie and Peanut raised their sleepy eyes from their cereal bowls.

“We didn’t do nothin,’” Peanut whined.

“What was that sound?”

“What sound?” Angie turned big eyes on Peanut, brow shriveling like an overripe kiwi. Peanut ignored her, his eyes wandering to the blaring TV.

A draft chilled Tanya. She hugged the threadbare towel closer. “Finish your breakfast.”

Angie picked up her spoon, but her face didn’t relax. Peanut pushed his bowl away, scowling.

Tanya circled the living-cooking-sleeping space, jiggling shelves, drawers, twitching a corner of the T-shirt tacked over the sole window. Bingo. Fresh cracks spidered the edge of the glass. Another call to the landlord. Another repair to be ignored. Tanya rooted in a drawer for duct tape.

“I don’ wanna go to Miz Brooks today,” Peanut whined.

“I don’ wanna work today, neither. But I am. And so are you, Arthur John.”

Angie put both bowls in the sink and wandered to the window. She lifted the ragged T-shirt.

“Don’t it look like a hymn, Mama? Like the glass at St. Dominic’s.”

The splintered glass reshaped the chaos outside, kaleidoscope fashion. A school bus, a broken-down turquoise Firebird, the limp pink flag in front of apartment 1-B. A hymn.

Tanya smiled, tape slipping from her fingers, forgotten.

1 comment:

Catherine Vibert said...

Beautiful. Isn't it wonderful how the fractured glass changes the perspective?