ISSUE No. 6

Clerestory

A clerestory is a window which allows light and air into the body of an old building. Clerestory Magazine stories and storytellers are like windows through which the pain and beauty of the human experience shine.

The Clerestory Podcast S1 E25

The Oklahoma Tenant Farmer and Me
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Oatmeal Morning

Oatmeal and banana slices
congealed in my bowl.
I whistled in the dogs,
put the dishes in the sink,

and drove off to work.
Cheery hellos from colleagues,
then a strange message
about my daughter, “She’s ok.”

Why wouldn’t she be?
News no one expected.
Plane crashes into tower,
upper stories on fire.

It got worse.
Newsreels amplified horror.
We all knew someone there
or near to there.

Later that night, I served
spaghetti and lots of wine
to my shaking daughter,
who’d seen the people jump,

smelled the smoke, felt the ash,
and been told to go home
and shower for forty minutes
to get rid of whatever was in the ash.

Her spaghetti tasted like bones; 
her wine like blood.
No amount of mother’s food or drink
could give her comfort.

Sheryl Guterl writes from New Mexico, where open spaces, mountains, and sunshine sustain her. In the summers, she retreats to a small cabin on a mountain lake, surrounded by impossibly tall pine trees in New Hampshire. Poetry, baking, and reading are constants in her life.

Discover more from Sheryl Guterl.