Stowie holds her grandfather’s tobacco pipe.
She blows silvery wispy clouds into the sky
And makes plans to find Alaska,
wanting the gentle love of cubs and bears.
I turn to the armoire and reach for my shawl,
pulling the loose strings of fading lavender.
In the kitchen hangs the drying lavender
Which she sometimes lights in her pipe.
We sit by the open door and I pull my shawl
Closer around my shoulders. She looks at the sky,
And she says that the clouds look like bears
And that today feels like Alaska.
I ask her if she knows that in Alaska
The sky is always a color like lavender,
is always crying, for the weight is too much to bear.
She looks down and rolls the smooth old pipe
Between her fingers, and says that the sky
In Alaska is fine with its cloudy shawl.
I trace the cracks in the veneer with my shawl
Covering the tip of my finger like Alaska
Covers Stowie’s thoughts. She says that the sky
Here is too big for her and a piece of lavender
Falls from its clothespin. She puts down the pipe
And she says she wishes she were a bear.
Her father walks into the kitchen, bearing
A basket. Re-hanging the lavender, my shawl
Falls and her father mumbles about a broken pipe.
He tells her not to go to Alaska
And in his basket lies something lavender
That he made small for her— it is the sky.
The armoire now holds the tiny sky.
Its finely cracking veneer bears
the weight. I’m going to paint it lavender
I think, the same as the color of my shawl.
Stowie asks if I’ve ever been to Alaska
And then says something about pipe
Dreams. We watch the sky put on its starry shawl
As celestial bears dance somewhere above Alaska,
And with lavender paint we patch the broken pipe.
Allison Gish is a lover of all things natural hailing from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Young Ravens Literary Review and Foxcroft Chimera Literature and Arts Magazine.