Most Trusted Remedy
in the numb, yellow plummet of September, I would settle you
under the Mexican blankets on my couch. a sweating Margarita on the coffee table.
a green cloth napkin. custard-filled croissant from an elusive café we don’t yet have
up here. powdered sugar and roasted almonds flaking your fingers.
you would surely ask me, but I wouldn’t tell you how I acquired such a foreign treat
in this baked goods wasteland of Tims and nothing else. (we women must have
some secrets left to us.)
if you weren’t so goddamn far from me now, I know just how I’d soothe you.
the crunching ache. twitching cartilage and veins. I know just what I’d say: I need to
get the laundry. into your left hand, I’d place
I don’t know what book. the libretto of our favourite musical? it wouldn’t matter.
you know it by heart.
in the leftover, dirty-windowed sun, I’d pull hot towels and sheets from the dryer. spill them into the basket, a tangle of eggshell and cream. I’d carry it - balanced on one hip -
to where you’re curled up. dump it unceremoniously over your exhausted body.
my mother’s most trusted remedy for all ills: moved-away friends, the sniffles,
shattered families. rattle and swirl of drying towels a promise of hot, powder-scented burial. on the saddest of days, she’d pull all the tea towels,
old rags out of the cupboards. throw everything clean in there: a falling mountain
of warm cotton big enough for three. wiping our hidden eyes
on purple pillow slips and Bugs Bunny beach towels.
your pills would fail you after a while. an hours-long rattle ahead of you now. your hands moving without your agency. fingers under shuddering kitchen towels stained moussaka eggplant and Marks&Spencer-tea brown.
I’d wait for it to ooze its vanilla warmth into you, then lift the worn linen
from your shoulder. your quivering wrist. reveal you, calmer
under blankets and - hopefully
- sleeping. dream of stillness. everything back in the dryer, just in case.
Kimmy Beach's fifth collection of poetry, The Last Temptation of Bond, is forthcoming from The University of Alberta Press in 2013. Kimmy was co-facilitator (along with John Gould) at Sage Hill Writing Experience in the summer of 2012. She has read across the country and in Liverpool, UK. She writes from Red Deer, Alberta, where she lives with her husband, Stu.