The metallic echo of hailstones rang from the empty tin bucket that stood by the steps leading into their clay adobe on the afternoon of Friday, October 25th, 1918. Alonso stood shivering over the morning paper now ten days old that Doc Toyo had spread out flat across the kitchen table – his index finger mashed down on bold block letters that read: SPANISH FLU now IN THE MOUNTAINS of NEW MEXICO. Alonso feared the worse for Julio, his only son who just two days before had fallen ill and now lay bundled on a wicker cot, his forehead beaded with sweat. Maya, his wife of eight years, knelt at his side and pressed the boy’s listless hand to her cheek. Doc Toyo glanced about the barren room and whispered to Alonso to tend to his affairs and that for today, he would accept his payment in bread. In one week’s time a gathering was planned at St. Margarita’s and that he and Maya would be welcome.
When Doc Toyo departed, Alonso retrieved a small wooden box that Maya kept hidden behind a plate standing upright on the mantle. On its face, a picture of the sun smiling down on their little adobe. Scribbled at the bottom’s edge were the words, From Julio, ‘The Artist’ with Love. With a single shake, Alonso emptied the box on the red clay floor. It was six month’s pay shy of a casket, headstone and flowers.
At St. Margarita’s seven days later, Alonso walked the aisle, nodding his head at the sight of merchandise scattered on the folding tables. Pastor Fernandez had petitioned members of the parish to donate items large and small, while artists of the church brought paintings or sculptures for a fundraiser Alonso had never imagined. When Maya stepped forth in the light of the doorway her shadow cast a mural against the wall – her motherly essence preceding her pose. She clasped his hand and pressed it to her waist. “There must only be forward,” she said. “There can only be things to come.”
Depart oh sorrow
Mind not travails of the heart
Love forever brings
Grabski chases poetry and prose while running down the dirt roads of New York. His work has appeared in magazines such as Boston Literary Magazine, Unbroken Journal, The Harpoon Review, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Eclectica Magazine, Foliate Oak,Cyclamen's and Swords and a splendid cast of others. GRABSKIworks.com or @GrabskiJohn