Ruth Z. Deming

My Soul Resides in a Pond of Silence

Someone at the library accused me of not
paying attention while listening to my audio
books in the car. Speak for yourself, dammit!
E. L. Doctorow reads from his book Andrew’s Brain
as two oak leaves float onto my windshield.

I pretend that Edgar Lawrence
himself can hear my wipers flinging themselves
in time to his reading. They’re sad, you know,
leaving their brethren behind
on the maple. We all must die, I think blithely, knowing
my time has yet to come, as I sip on the Starbucks
red holiday cup that makes keen my brain.

Edgar, of course, has died of lung cancer. I pretend
to light a meerschaum pipe, smells sweet. Worth
dying for? Not me.

Such delicious lines he reads in a soft, old man’s voice,
“the tensile strength of her behind,” then later,
“My soul resides in a huge deep pond of silence,”
lines I must remember, I know not why.

Do not worry, Edgar. I shall light a Chanukah candle
for you and shout to the Macabees and the few friends
I have, “Read his books! Let the words and the ideas
flow through your brain like the raging Mississippi when
it floods, stand on a rise and see the black waters where
Huck Finn sailed his raft – I see him now, dirt-
stained with his friend Jim – and the words shall
sail like clipper ships through our brains and make
of us all the writers we’re destined to be.

© Ruth Z. Deming

Ruth Z. Deming, a psychotherapist and mental health advocate, has had her work published in literary magaziness including Literary Yard, Quail Bell, and Mad Swirl. She lives in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia.

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