“The Collector’s Secret” by Suzanne Stryk 2001
These are the things she buried: the skull of her pet rabbit whose name was Sometimes Fred, a dog whistle, a pair of purple knitting needles, a feather from a guinea hen, all black and white laddered. She climbs the oak and joins herself to the trunk with streamers of spider web and weary people come to watch her turn to shaggy bark. It is taking a long time, but that she expected. The people send up sandwiches using the pulley system she pilfered from a tree house where the children no longer play. The Ladies Garden Club brings old tires and fills them with dirt to plant Sweet Williams and Purple Viking potatoes. One morning she sees a man walking his white turkeys. In the evenings when all the people have gone back to their domesticities, she watches a family of skunks tumble past in the moonlight. She dreams when it is windy, but mostly about the stove and iron. Did she remember to turn them off?
Lisa J. Cihlar‘s poems appeared or are forthcoming in The South Dakota Review, Green Mountains Review, Crab Creek Review, Southern Humanities Review, and Blackbird. She has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook, “The Insomniac’s House,” is available from Dancing Girl Press and a second chapbook, “This is How She Fails,” is available from Crisis Chronicles Press. She lives in rural southern Wisconsin.