Posted by: zhak39 | May 3, 2007

Edna Schmalzl

My grandparents had a neighbor, Edna Schmalzl,
who let me toddle behind her
as she kneaded the earth
around her tulips and daffodils.
Mrs. Schmalzl was an impressive lady,
tall, white haired.
She had lost one husband each
to the World Wars
then went and outlived her third.
To me,
this bone thin woman
was the height of strength and elegance and mystery.
One day as she worked the soil
in yellow gloves with a tiny shovel
it began to rain.
I waited, a little worried.
We were in the back of her yard,
so far from her house!
She was imposing
yet I worked up the courage to pull at her skirt.
“Mrs. Schmalzl,” I said. “Don’t we have to go inside when it rains?”

Mrs. Schmalzl sat back on her heels.
Looked at the ground.
Looked at me.
Looked at the fallen wreck of a carriage house at the edge of the adjoining pasture.
She scanned the sky.

“And miss that?” she asked, pointing with her spade at a rainbow arcing across the heavens.

“A rainbow! Where did that come from?”

“It’s in your eyes, Miss Muffet,” she said.
“You can weather any storm
if there’s a rainbow in you eyes.”

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