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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Rattled (05/09/13)

TITLE: The Gleaner Wore Chiffon
By Francy Judge


He parts two rows of blinds,
Bent from overuse, and leans in to look,
Presses his forehead to the cold metal
…As she rattles down the street.

He wonders if she sees him
Watching, so he steps back a bit;
She might think him
A creepy old man,
But he’s not that old
And not that creepy
Just curious.

She passes by every day at this time,
As the sun crawls across his roof
And warms his den from where
He peers.
The neighborhood dogs know her;
They shout barks in turn
…As she rattles down the street

Tossing bottles, remnants of wine,
Emptied good times
For quarters.

The wheels of her cart screech over cement;
Sharp, angular notes slice the air, like raining glass,
…As she rattles down the street

The noise is too much for his twin terriers; they want
To find its source and nip ankles.
She parks her cart curbside,
And the rattling stops; even the barking tapers off.
Her eyes follow the slate path
Straight to his blinds so
He lets go;
They snap back to their bent shape.
He counts one minute and opens them again.

She hunches over the bins he left out,
And reminds him of Millet’s painting of the Gleaners,
At harvest time,
Searching and sorting, collecting and clinking
Adding to her stash, another dollar.

She feels eyes pressing on her as
She tosses the bag on
Top of her black mountain.

Will she see it?
The bouquet of white daisies
So bright and clean,
Gathered in a golden bow,
Placed between two bins of trash.

Will she remember?
As he did?
He knows the rumors:
Death, depression, and drugs
Left her homeless
But there was a before…

She grew up in the house with the violet shutters
At the dead end of his street;
Azaleas hugged the perimeters of her lawn and
Daisies framed her window.
Lindsy was his high school sweetheart,
His first love.
He drove her around in his Chevy Convertible;
She gathered her curls in a lemon chiffon scarf
With subtle glamor.
A few black tendrils sprang out of hiding,
Adding to her charm.
At her door, he kissed her sweet lips
A little longer.
Then one night, she said goodbye
And walked away. For forty years.

Her wild waves, now speckled grey
Like a scratchy tweed.
Could he save her from herself,
As God saved him?

He doesn’t see the torn coat or the frayed woolen hat;
She’s the girl in the chiffon scarf
Who scatters seed for birds and still covers her laugh.

She tosses the last bag onto her load.
Why would someone wedge flowers
Between recyclables? She wonders
…and she rattles down the street.

He closes the blinds,
And the rattling fades.
Does she know he lives here?
Like her, he left…but death
Brought him back;
And now, he too is alone.

Unlike other nights, she returns.
The terriers protest her change of routine.
He parts the blinds just in time
To see her lift the daisies to her nose
And add the bouquet to her cart. After reading the note,
Her eyes follow the slate path
Straight to his blinds, and Lindsy smiles.
…and she rattles down the street.

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This article has been read 1018 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca05/17/13
Oh wow, what a different and unique take on the whole rattled topic! This has a great flow to it, such creative word choices, and I love the happy ending. Great job.
Laury Hubrich 05/22/13
Oh wow! Wow! Wow! Of course I wanted her to walk up and ring the door bell or for him to run after her. :( But you ended it right - you left the reader wanting more. Evil, evil:)
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/23/13
Well deserving of first place. I love this poem--beginning to end. Congratulations for crafting this amazing poem.
Nancy Bucca05/23/13
Congratulations on your 1st place win!
Michael Throne05/23/13
Great Poem. I like the rhythm and refrain. I like the story. Well done!
Lillian Rhoades 05/23/13
From title, opening sentence, and to the conclusion, this was indeed a winner. Congratulations!
Kon Michailidis05/23/13
Well deserved first place!A beautiful poem full of rich imagery. Congratulations.
Will she see it?
The bouquet of white daisies
So bright and clean,
Gathered in a golden bow,
Placed between two bins of trash.
What a beautiful picture of hope in this world. May we all see it, placed there by the One who loves us.
Bea Edwards 05/23/13
Your piece is absolutely captivating.
Well done and congratulations for your EC win with this spectacular piece.
Leola Ogle 05/23/13
Congrats Francy! Great job!
Judith Gayle Smith05/23/13
Beautiful! This is magnificent! Congratulations!
Vince Martella05/25/13
Wow! Congrats on an amazing piece of writing. The form was outstanding and the word pictures were so good. A very moving and creative piece, worthy of top honors! :-)