Something I Broke
By Eileen Frost
The package landed on the porch with a muffled thud and loomed on the far side of the ringing doorbell. Through the rippled glass of the windows, sunlight streamed low and close to the floor. I stood frozen, hidden in the stretching shadows of the early morning. I knew about the boxes. I knew about the cold and callous way they were tossed into one’s life or, what was left of it. I leaned my head back, resting it against the wall. I could hear the fading footsteps of the courier crunching the gravel drive. He left as abruptly as he had come.
Our old farmhouse looked the same. The same as it had for the twenty-three years we had lived here. It was secluded, a gleaming white tower in a rolling sea of grasses that changed with the time of year from green to gold and brown and then lay snuggled beneath a mantle of white. The house, however, did not feel the same. The timbers of the rooms that once caressed us, collecting little pocketfuls of our laughter and bouncing it back to us, stood stoic and detached. They offered no warmth, no comfort. It was as though the big old house had known many months ago that if it acknowledged my pain it would be drawn into it. The walls and doorways had seen what happened here and remained aloof and void. I was very much on my own; alone in a frigid world that had become hard, angular.
It had been almost three and a half years since they had taken him; storming into the house in the middle of the night, yanking him; his most dreaded fears springing to life as they dragged him from our bed. I crawled behind him wailing into the darkness, pleading desperately for him until the butt of the rifle ripped my head to one side and smashed me into a days-long sleep. When I came to, I knew it was no dream.
The days that followed were slow; hope giving way to fear and fear easing its way into foreboding. On trips to town I stayed to myself, hesitant, concerned that I may learn something of the work camps that was far worse than what I already knew. I had overheard enough from those who had taken delivery of the boxes to know that I could not bear to think of him there; drowned by the breathing of the Beast who would draw from his lips every secret our government had stuffed into him. They would use him up; spit him out, empty and lifeless. His mind would be as barren as the nuclear winter that hung over so much of the world. He would be a zombie of the new regime… imprisoned by the horrors he had seen, controlled by the threats that would have no end… not here, not now.
I knew what I would find inside the box. Cradled in its brown paper blanket neatly tied with red string would be the parts of him that were left behind; dog tags, a microchip carrying all his history and pertinent information… his very ability to buy and sell and it being a duplicate of the one they had buried beneath his skin. From his wallet, a photo or two of us, a small picture of a white horse, his symbol of the King who is coming. And, two pieces of yellowed vellum, each bearing an isosceles triangle in faded indigo. I pictured him holding the two shapes to the light one staggered over the other, one pointed up and the other pointed down, longing once again for the crisp white flag bearing the blue Star of David… flying… high over Jerusalem. Reminders to him, but unrecognized by his captors, these were signs, struggles for breath… respirators to his faith. Tears poured down and washed over a smile as I thought of him… him… flying… high over Jerusalem!
I walked onto the porch and leaned down to lift the box. I held it to my chest and felt a slight and winsome breeze waltz by. I sat down in a squeaky old rocker and… I broke the string. I unwrapped the box and lifted the lid. I expected to look at the pieces of him that lay inside. Instead, I saw the wholeness of him… complete and eternal. I closed my eyes and breathed in the joy of his freedom in a world gone wild.
Eileen Frost, is a freelance muralist and creator of commissioned custom art and verse. She moved into photography and computerized image manipulation of same photos, to illustrate original verse.
She enjoys writing children’s books and epic tales in rhyme, which, instead of poetry, she refers to as ‘rhyming stories’.