Author: Emma Jarman
Emma Jarman is an emerging creative writer enjoying short fiction and memoir. She is an Ohio native and recovering journalist, currently working full time in special education at a small public school in Oklahoma.
If there was a window she’d have gone to it, poked her head through and sung to the night. If there was a bureau in the bedroom she’d have opened it first, for a warm woolen robe that was heavy and green. If the night air had fallen from the window on her legs, she’d have pulled the robe tightly around her thin, nightgowned shoulders. If the night had sung first from the garden outside, she’d have smiled from her bed, curled her toes in the rug and plodded with care across the moon-cool hardwood. She’d have gazed past the jasmine, the petunias and primroses, to the weather-worn headstones through the wrought iron gate. She’d have ached for the buried and those soon to be, and wonder what came their ones left behind. If there had been bed linens she’d have stretched out beneath them at first, in a back-arching, fist-clenching, head-tossing way that would remind her of lying beneath a man. If there’d been a man there he’d have pulled her back in, before the robe on her nightgown and moon on her feet.
“Such silly ideas,” cracked a voice from the rot, jolting her back from what once might have been.
I’m cold, she thinks sadly, I wasn’t always cold.
“No memories here,” sneered the rot through the dark. “You’re all full of holes and with nothing to keep.”
Shaking her head, she traces a square on the pinewood lid from inside, with a bone dry fingertip full of holes, dirt and rot. She closes her eyes and imagines the box opens, imagines climbing up and out to sing songs to the night.
In the evening above, a widower and a girl with a side-worn crayon rub dates from stone slabs onto scraps of yellowed paper. The girls fingers are green with lichen, moss and dyed wax. Her father looks back across the graveyard, through the wrought iron gate, past the quaint flower garden to the house on the hill. The window upstairs is flung open and wide, moonlight falling into the room. Bed, empty. Sheets, cold. Bureau, open. Taking a haggard breath he turns back to his girl, pulls her into the green robe round his nightshirted shoulders, and sings memories to the child of her mother and the moon.