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by Elsie 

Posted: 26 April 2008
Word Count: 133
Summary: For flash 4

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I could just make her out
down by the shed,
her stained housecoat a faded pink,
a slight shimmer to the edges.

God knows why she stood there,
she must have known he wasn’t here.
Perhaps the ethereal sat nav
sent her down my garden path.

She’d shake her head, make me
feel guilty about the begonias.
And every bloody time I’d iron a shirt
there was a whisper, a breath, behind my left ear.

Always iron the collar first,
then the shoulders.
That’s right, now the sleeves.
Make sure the cuffs are neat and smart.
Leave the front and back to last.

I wanted to tell her, “Vi – he’s not here,
these aren’t his shirts.” Another woman
does his shirts now, presumably.
The night she stopped coming
I never felt lonelier.

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Comments by other Members

joanie at 13:23 on 27 April 2008  Report this post
Elsie, once again I am filled with admiration. I love the way the story develops and the reader is led into it so carefully.

the ethereal sat nav
sent her down my garden path.
is just brilliant!

The last two lines speak volumes!

I love the italics for the direct speech and also the change of tense.
Gorgeous, and worthy of returning time and again!


MarlaD at 15:46 on 27 April 2008  Report this post
Aw, this is so sad, yet beautiful all at once x

Nella at 19:26 on 27 April 2008  Report this post
I liked this very much, too, Elsie. Especially the way the voice (in italics) whispers to her about how to iron a shirt. (Just the way my mother taught me!) I like the tone - a little melancholy, a little matter-of-fact. It's almost a little Robert-Frost-ish.
Definitely very re-readable.

joanie at 20:44 on 27 April 2008  Report this post
Oh my goodness! I have just finished ironing and I couldn't possibly have ironed the three shirts any other way!! My mum taught me!! Screen fold of three for table cloths - !!


Elsie at 21:48 on 27 April 2008  Report this post
Thanks, Joanie, Nella, Marla. Joanie - did you recognise the ironing section came from a previous piece? I remember you, or maybe Nell, making a comment about the irony/ironing.

joanie at 21:55 on 27 April 2008  Report this post
Yes, Elsie. I most certainly do remember. I was going to ask what was familiar!


Inspiration at 21:25 on 28 April 2008  Report this post
Hey, Elsie, this is so clever. I do love the way you build up this 'story', complete with a satisfying startling ending.

Love the 'voice' and ethereal sat nav!

WOW! You make this look so easy.

Oh, and thank you for the ironing lesson. Who'd of thought I would learn how to iron in a writer's group?


Nella at 09:40 on 29 April 2008  Report this post
This poetry group seems to be good for a lot of domestic tips!
Aside, of course, from the great poems.

V`yonne at 20:07 on 02 May 2008  Report this post
I seem to have missed this one Elsie. It's a great poem. What was that activity, ironing or something?? The ending is superb!

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