This Guilt Hued Blue by Abigail Hawk

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Molecules of clean chlorine

break over my swim cap as I push past

fatigue, breathing bubbles.  I begin another

spin down the chemically pristine and

I think of Eddie’s agile arm

backstroking,

slicing through the ocean water:

butter knife to Wonder bread.  Shaving bits of mold off

the block of cheddar cheese, emptying

a can of Campbell’s tomato

soup into the small copper saucepan.  Swedish

bibles and bird baths, even owl boxes

sometimes.

We would collect pine cones in big black garbage bags and

two shiny new quarters would flick their way from

his calloused palm to mine.

Cool and confidently silver-

like him.  His practiced hands

whittled me a picket fence from which to sing

behind, erected a sunroom screened and finely

shadowed.  He molded model airplanes and solved

a thousand piece puzzles.  

His camcorder captured

every birthday, Easter egg hunt, eagerness of Christmas morning, but never

THE CARVING OF THE BIRD.

THE CARVING OF THE BIRD was his patriarchal duty.

Those shoulders hoisted children.  Those hands held war. That mouth tasted Great

Depression.  That heart saw God in the daily

bread and chores and grind.

And then

he

died.

And all those VHS tapes now dusty in their uselessness joined

the ties and sweaters and wool caps and toothbrush;

the bottle of Breck shampoo and bar of Irish Spring;

the essential things that maketh a man a hospitable being

discarded

in big black garbage bags at the end of the drive for curbside pickup.

But this time no quarter

finds my fingers and no pine

scent comforts me as I

tie that knot, as I

cry, swallowing my should-haves.

 

A related musing freestyles toward me, hurtling me

forward as I move through the blue.

A dirty recollection,

it uncomfortably snags, encumbering my length, interrupting my ballast.  

A boyfriend.  

A brooder.  A lover of art and menthol

cigarettes, a sender

of poetry to my inbox.

He was black and he never met

my Eddie.  I was afraid of the questions.  

Why?

Eddie spoke of “Japs” and “Blacks” in hushes.  His views on others were thickly

buttered by war and notions preconceived; he might could sit

in blissful ignorance,

in saccharine surface smiles, steeped

in privilege colored white.  Tea

was sweet and nog was spiked and racism nothin’

but mustard seed-sized and

how?

Do I reconcile my hero with his human side?  And

why?

Does silver have to tarnish?  And

where?  Might casual bias hide?

Why, these little seeds live insidious in

our inky places, their roots feeding confederacy and breeding

blindness for joy rides, farming facts into bite-sized

digestible lies, like bees drown in honey,

like fired-up sugar.  This deep-fried heartburn

imperceptibly and

progressively and

sequentially

grows:

an inevitable tree

housing birds, holding bees, rooting worms, spreading seeds…

So, you see:

even the insignificant can gather

infinitesimal matter and flash flood the banks of southern comfort and safety and

here I swim,

cutting water like him, wishing

I could alter history.

A woman’s guilt.

This woman’s guilt.

My guilt.

Damn it!  I named my son after you.

I find you in his eyes: that

ice blue twinkle, Viking steel, iron spirit,

stubborn will.

I need to be still.

So I seize the pool

wall, give its roughness leave to have its way

with me.  A wet and sharp inhale and I palely

realize I have my own

mustard seed.  In him

is my chance to root it right and raise my son with light, in soil.

I can cultivate; it’s not too late.

Since he shares your blue and since

blue prisms light and since

seeds are hoarders of future days, I don’t need to be afraid

of new Eddie’s hard questions.  

My guilt need not be a guillotine.

My guilt can be a catapult.

My guilt can be a laxity.

I swim a lap of luxury, a clarion pull through

blue from something old to something new.

And then

I

 

 

breathe.

 

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Abigail Hawk is an award-winning New York-based actress whose work has been seen on such television shows as Body of Proof, The Jim Gaffigan Show, and Law and Order: SVU.  Perhaps she is most recognizable as fiesty Detective Abigail Baker, the unflappable right hand of surly but lovable Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck) on CBS’ Blue Bloods.  Hawk’s silver screen work includes Almost Paris, which was directed by Domenica Cameron-Scorsese and premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival.  She also served up some sassy salon owner sauce in rom-com Rich Boy, Rich Girl, and played opposite Chevy Chase and Howard Hesseman in the feel-good holiday feature A Christmas in Vermont.  Abigail currently resides on Long Island with her husband, two sons, dog, two cats, four fish, and one snail.  Her favorite foods are coffee and wine and the fastest way to her heart is through following her on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

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