Wool Gathering

1 min read
Jane Austen and Jane Kenyon call to me from
my shelves. I muse on an ordered life where people
behave properly, but where the fabric of nature 
reflects dark secrets inside, lifts my sorrows, 
reasons with my angry confusion, smiles at me.

Romance draws me into an abstract world where
A.S. Byatt’s poets dream of a different life,
responsibilities gone, where love can’t float but
sinks under a stream of loss and betrayal, nestles
beneath waterfalls or in dusty attics.

I read William Saroyan who weaves a
simple world where people guard one
another’s hearts. Eat lamb stew and apricots.
I find myself in O. Henry’s spartan room.
Irony and clouds of sentiment are 
packed here in surprise gift boxes.

What is my favorite book? Is it the worn white
Bible I’ve had since childhood, the one with pictures of
Jesus holding different races of children on his lap? 
Sheep gather on the grassy hillside behind him. Or Ralph 
Ellison’s invisible man, fleeced and wounded in Harlem? 

Flannery O’Connor shears my thoughts on 
hot Southern afternoons. Her stories monster my reveries 
with characters selling costly male domination and 
holy flattery. Margaret Atwood lacerates the motherly
bliss of childbirth, infuses suspicion everywhere.

I feel naked and shorn by Sartre and Camus, telling me
there’s no escape, incarcerating me behind rusty bars
where the world is the same, in or out. The
proud, wordy rebellion of Simone de Beauvoir
cracks open the egg of my mental languor with images of
abject broken bodies, odors of blood cycles. No allowance for
complacency, submission, contentment, faith, following,

I rediscover Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes of
print, not the gangly representations in film, but the
genius drug addled mind that rakes in details his
author has purposely hidden from his herd of readers. 
Are these authors all pulling the wool over my eyes?

Barbara Eckroad

Barbara Eckroad is a former elementary school teacher. She loves writing, reading, walking on the beach, and caring for her rescued Pembroke Welsh Corgi. She hosts a writing group each Friday afternoon under her avocado tree.

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