Wednesday, August 26, 2009


For M.

It’s midsummer and I’m standing in line at the airport, waiting for someone to check my bag. I burn my mouth on strong Italian coffee and try to read a letter I found on my car seat before I left home. The purple silk scarf tagging my luggage tickles my bare calf. I remember when I bought it, years ago when you and I still knew each other. It smelled like sandalwood then and you stole it from me for no good reason. It lived in the hall closet with your ties and an old woolen overcoat. You sheltered me under the deep arm of that coat when I called you from bars to walk me home through bad neighborhoods. One night I found the scarf in the coat’s deep pocket when I stuck my cold hand down inside it. I took you to task for your thievery but you didn’t want to hear it.
I remember the time I picked up a cookie from a chipped yellow plate on your kitchen table and held it to my face, inhaling the cinnamon and nutmeg. It was New Year’s Eve and I wore a short skirt and the purple silk scarf but no coat. You were sober and I was not. We listened to Jerry Jeff Walker and took a walk downtown. You told me a story and I tried to listen. We looked at some fireworks behind a clock tower and burned our tongues on hot chocolate in white paper cups. You held my hand and I played a joke on you, a rare moment of successful sleight of hand that made me laugh and stagger. But you didn’t think it was funny.
We sat on an old wooden bench near the post office and I ripped my red fishnet stockings on a splinter.
The dry air was cold, and a little boy laughed up in my face when the year turned. Not a mockery but a happy child’s shout in the street. A banner of laughter that I wish I could hear when I play with the edge of this fabric, but which hides from my fingers and doesn’t smell like anything much just now.

©Laura Sorrells 2007/2009
all rights reserved

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Georgia, United States
I live at the edge of the forest in a little town in the north Georgia mountains. I teach sixth grade Language Arts and am writing a memoir of sorts about family, spirituality, and narrative. I am also exploring a possible writing project having to do with contemporary lay contemplative experience and how it might be informed by the Desert Fathers and Mothers of early Christianity. I am a relatively recent convert to Roman Catholicism and an admirer of Pope Francis, Leonardo Boff, Joan Chittister, and Richard Rohr. I'm a Lay Associate of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery in Conyers, Georgia. I am interested in indigenous cultures, narratives, and spirituality, especially how these can inform my spirituality as a lay contemplative. I write, read, take pictures, play around with creating ephemera from paper and cloth and other organic things. I cook, hike, watch wildlife, and collect random bits of interesting oddness, both tangible and abstract. I am a seer of smallness and a caretaker of ridiculous minutiae. If you want, e-mail me at or