Milk and Honey

She offers a photograph of herself as a young war bride, smiling and holding on to the railing of the ship minutes before they disembarked. In the background, the rust-red pylons of the famous bridge. She’s never left home before this time, except to go into town for doctor visits, or to find a dress for her sister’s wedding. She is a farmer’s daughter, but she’s taught herself stenography, a little bookkeeping. She sews her own clothes, has learned a bit of tailoring. At this time, she has not yet learned the names of trees in this new world. And it is nearly winter, so their branches rattle along the avenue. This is her welcome parade: no flags of green, the wind from the bay whipping her cotton skirt around her knees; gulls fighting for scraps on the pier. She laughs at the memory of a phrase she’d heard: milk and honey, they’d said. The streets don’t run with it. And inside the brick houses with heavy drapes, women like her scrubbed the heart of the wood with vinegar and water, their accents falling on tile when no one was listening.

 

In response to Via Negativa: Armchair Activist.

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