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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

The Eight Months of Oysters


by Kathy Gibbons

A Pecha Kucha

Those in the know have spoken so:
the “R” months are for ordering our oysters.
May, June, July and August show us
R-starved risk and rife red-tide disasters.
So it seems safest that we go with
pearls of wisdom from the mollusk masters.

(1) January: Rites and Rituals

Taking down the Christmas tree in
late-date January. Why am I reluctant?
So many angels there. Taking down angels
is not for the faint-hearted. And why my
rite of lopping off the branches?
Like the olden burning of the greens, return
to default, hit rewind. The beginning is
the end. We spin round the sun again.

(2) February: Regattas and Romance

With winter lull in racing schedule,
sailors might get married, and we did.
Also, four or five other couples we know.
Valentine roses abound. Convenient
for flower gathering, although
cymbidium orchids are much better.
Life rings encircle and knots are tied as
crews set sail to round the marks anew.

(3) March: Requiem and Regret

When I learned that Dad was dying, I flew back,
and thought I’d see him when the morning came
but instead I took the wee-hours call to tell me
he was gone. When we gathered at his deadbed
to say goodbye, it seemed he was still breathing
but it was only air, his soul whispering from his body,
later echoed on the graveyard shift, as in the
twisting winds, we watched his spirit lift.

(4) April: Resurrection and Returns

Once the IRS is heeded and receives our last return,
the green of March’s beer gives way to April grass
and roots and buds and leaves and flowers and birds
and a giant rabbit bearing eggs
to signify renewal, replanting and rebirth.
I guess since rabbits are so fecund and fertile
(guppies too, but a giant guppy would be silly) still
redemption gives us hope to live our lives more fully.

(5) September: Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic

The wheels of the bus go round and round
as harried mothers kiss the ground it drives on
and the sainted driver chauffeurs children
to where the wild things are.
But me, I prefer our rented cottage in
Menemsha. Quiet after summer’s gone,
we eat clams from paper cones on the bight
by the sound as ferries circle round.

(6) October: Russet Reds and Rah Rah Rah’s

How can October not be the start of spring?
When things are dying, do they then burst forth
with new life and color, ravishing, resplendent,
umber and russet red, pumpkins, gourds,
even the old gold dog has a spring in his step.
Young flag football stars and tiny Texas cheer
squad running, rolling, twirling, and piles of
rainbow leaves swirling circles to the sky.

(7) November: Reaping and Relatives

And the month of thanks comes calling with
rosemary for remembrance, parsley, sage and
thyme to pack the bird with stuffing and loving thoughts
of times passed, past gifts and tables through the years,
when Uncle Jim used oysters in his stuffing and
Grandmom made her mince and pumpkin pies,
we gathered in a circle round the groaning board
and gave thanks to friends and family and the Lord.

(8) December: Ringing and Reindeer

When we were young we listened for the sleigh
and we heard it! Sleigh bells rang in the night unless
it was just trolley cars clanging out their stops on
tracks, not in the sky. Dad bought a bargain tree
out on the street after we’d gone to sleep, and the
nothing that had been there Christmas Eve turned to
magic in the morning: stars and lights and angels!
And the end is the beginning. We keep spinning.

Header photograph © Christopher Nielsen.

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