Monday, February 25, 2008

Entry #45

Christina’s World
by Sarah Hina


Crawling uphill’s the hardest.

Left fist, right fist, swing them round.

Junior calls me The Sidewinder, on account of this poor dance of mine, but I will keep my peace about the boy. Polio might have taken my legs, but my thoughts still soar among them starlings.

Left fist, right fist, swing them round.

The Maine winds do shake these tawny grasses. So why can’t I hear the music no more?

Left . . .

Mama told me that my legs stopped working altogether when Charles stopped writing me. But Pastor Goodrum would call that a wicked sort of embellishment. My legs stopped working when God dried my nerves up as rough and black as that tree I’m fixing toward.

Right . . .

‘Course, Pop always says the devil’s in the details.

Swing them . . .

There.

Breath comes harder up here, more ragged-like. I sit my forehead against the trunk’s scars.

C.O. + C.S.

I stop shaking when bark draws blood.

When the tree gives up its music.

“Boston’s not so far, Chrissie.”

“It’s farther than my arms.”

“But I’ll come for you next spring. When our tree here is all color and scent. When the starlings are building their nests.”

“Show me how you’ll come, Charlie.”

He laughs.

He shows me.

Left arm, right arm, swing me round.


Sometimes, sitting against our tree, it’s like he never put me down.

Because once, when swaddled beneath its branches, I did believe the world had legs.

37 comments:

Jaye Wells said...

Sarah, you have outdone yourself. For me, this is a perfect little piece.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Fabulous. Nothing more needs saying.

pjd said...

This is poetic without trying too hard. You've captured the unrequited love/broken heart theme in a unique and poignant way. This is really good.

sandra seamans said...

Perfect!!

Rob said...

Very nicely done. Really enjoyed this. You ended it perfectly.

Beth said...

Jesus, Kid, you NEVER disappoint. Terrific flow and timing.

Hoodie said...

Oh Great. I should have read this before I entered. There's no point.

Right on target, lady. Stellar.

Ello said...

Oh wow Sarah! I absolutely sighed with pleasure and sadness at the end of this one. So perfect.

Sarah Hina said...

Thanks, everyone! :)

The title comes from a famous Andrew Wyeth painting by the same name. For me, Jason's photograph was like if Christina turned the other way.

I really appreciate all the positive compliments. I've enjoyed so many of yours, too.

ChristineEldin said...

Sarah, This is one of my favorites. The voice is lyrical but not high-brow. It's perfect for the story.
I simply adore this one.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Poignant, poetic, evocative. An excellent piece of writing, there's very little else to say.

DBA Lehane said...

Clever and very touching. I had to read it twice just to capture the subtleties of the writing.

Vesper said...

Perfect!

paisley said...

i read this first on your blog... and love it even more the second time around.....

pattinase (abbott) said...

And I love that painting. You've captured a perspective on it here.

strugglingwriter said...

very nice work sarah. you captured Christina's voice perfectly.

Paul

Precie said...

I love this! It's beautiful and really well-done!

raine said...

I recognized the painting in the words of your prose.
Absolutely beautifully done, Sarah.
Bravo.

Remiman said...

Sara,
You've employed the vernacular expertly to set the mood. The struggle and the comfort of memories are all beautifully woven together. I leave with the hope Christina has in her heart.
rel

JLB said...

Wow - this piece just has so much depth! (And it has just the right rhythm and pace.)

bluesugarpoet said...

Beautifully written from top to bottom. I LOVED your story.

SzélsőFa said...

Very poetic, Sarah.
For me, the hope it ends with is false. That makes the story even more sad.

Anonymous said...

Shame on ya' for making an old hardboiled geezer like me misty eyed.
Great piece of work Sarah.

John McAuley

Aerin said...

"the devil's in the details" - no, Sarah, your great strength is in the details! This is such a complete piece - imagery, just enough backstory, shown and not told, fast paced and tight prose, with enough lyricism to be as beautiful as that Wyeth painting. As everyone else has said - perfect.

Thérèse said...

I can't get over how much information you crammed into this piece. It's beautiful, lyrical, and haunting.

"I sit my forehead against the trunk's scars." I like that.

Very, very lovely piece. I find it lilts towards hopeful at the end somehow. And I really like that.

wrath999 said...

Very well done. beatifuuly written!

Sarah Hina said...

Thanks again, everyone! You all are too generous. :)

My heart is full.

steve said...

I remember seeing "Christina's World" when I was 12 or 13, and being mesmerized by it. Your interpretation of it is so poignant. Beautiful.

Posolxstvo said...

Compelling and lyrical. A pleasure to read. I liked that you were able to convey so much with so little. I'm still not sure I have the right visual for the swinging of the legs, but that doesn't matter -- what matters is that her legs don't work and she is gravely determined.

And I am very impressed with your ability to find the right note to strike in your comments as well.

JaneyV said...

You know I've often wondered about that painting. Why was Christina crawling?

I felt like my soul was having a warm bath in the poetry of this piece. I am in awe as to how you managed to imbue this character with so much feeling, determination, resolve and heartbreak with so few words.

Sarah, you are an inspiration. This is amazing.

Shameless said...

Gorgeous, Sarah. Poetry and a short story blended so perfectly. :-) Excellent job.

*~*Sameera*~* said...

So deep and surreal!Wonderful piece of writing there.

Good luck :)

Roger said...

Very moving. Having had a cousin (he died several years ago in a fire) without the use of his legs, I can only imagine the sheer force of will it takes to exist daily in such a state. We take so much for granted in life. Your story shows hope and love can be found anywhere and with anyone. Great job!

Linda Courtland said...

Touching and beautiful. Great pacing and rhythm.

r2 said...

Beautiful. Exquisite details. Very poetic. This is one of my favorites. I've reread it three times.

jason evans said...

Poetic and lyrical. The style reflects her thoughts. She's reaching higher than the reality and wishing she could be swept away by it. Well done.

Aine said...

I love the voice you've created for Christina. It sets the tone of the setting without any physical description-- you totally captured the rural 1940's.

And her struggle with her disability (and all of its consequences) is so realistic. There is something unique in the character/personality of many chronically disabled people which I can't put into words. You've captured it here. Well done!

Also, as I mentioned on your blog, thank you for connecting this photo to the Wyeth painting! This photo will forevermore have greater meaning to me!
:)

Congrats on Reader's Choice!