This is an email from Matthew Spira's Poetry, a newsletter by Matthew Spira.

MRS. CALLAHAN AND THE SKETCHBOOK
Overcast and leaden sky
Faith stares out the window
steady drizzle of rain.
Her locket necklace in her hand.
The soggy pages from her
sketchbook laid out on the tables
to dry, but clearly ruined.
The doorbell rings.

Mom, in her formal clothes,
comes into the dining room.
Tries to tame her hair with a comb.
That must be Mrs. Callahan.
She’s going to watch you
and your brother this afternoon.
Why?
Your father and I have to go
into town for a while.
Mom gives up trying to comb
her hair and just pulls it back
into a ponytail.
Are you coming back?
Of course we are, honey.
What kind of question is that?
The doorbell rings again.
Mom goes to answer it.
Faith shrugs, looks out the window
down at the empty parking area
furrows her brow.
Voices in the foyer.

Brow still furrowed
Faith comes into the foyer
hides behind her mother.
Mrs. Callahan takes off
her old-fashioned rain parka.
Thank you so much for coming all
the way out here on short notice.
We were getting worried we
wouldn’t be able to find anyone.
It was no trouble at all. I heard
there was a dire need.
Well, you’re an answer to a
prayer, that’s for sure.
Mom moves to take the parka
leaves Faith in view.
Well, hello there…
Faith takes a step back.
And who might you be?
This would be Faith.
Very pleased to make your
acquaintance, Miss Faith.
What a beautiful name
you have.
Faith smiles shyly
at the compliment
brow relaxing.
My name is Mrs. Callahan.
I’ll be your sitter today
if that’s all right with you.
Faith nods slowly.
Mom, pleased that Faith
seems to like Mrs. Callahan.
Let’s show you around.
Mom, holding Faith’s hand
leads Mrs. Callahan into
the dining room.

Mrs. Callahan and Faith
sit at a table, sort through the
dried and drying sketches.
Mrs. Callahan pulls apart
two sheets revealing a badly
smudged drawing of the family.
The parents’ faces
completely blotted out.
Faith shakes her head sadly.
Broken.
You sure?
The drawing still water-damaged
but all the smiling faces
clearly visible.
Faith, astonished.
Sometimes
things aren’t as bad
as they seem at first.
Mrs. Callahan sets the drawing aside
picks up the next one.
Faith gape-mouths between
the drawing and Mrs. Callahan.
Mrs. Callahan just smiles.
Mom comes back into the dining room
she stuffs manila folders
into a briefcase.
Let’s see… Ethan will be home
from summer school around four.
There’s lasagna in the fridge…
Mom looks around.
Okay, if — a car horn HONKS.
Mom kisses Faith. Love you.
We’ll be home around six-thirty
if there’s any pro — HONK, HONK!
We’ll be fine, Sarah. Good luck
with the gentlemen at the bank.
Mom hurries into the hallway.
Faith slips off the chair
to the window. Watches her
mother dash through
the rain to the family SUV.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Greg Nunes on Unsplash

MRS. CALLAHAN AND THE RAINBOW
Ethan climbs onto the gate
as the school bus pulls away.
When the bus is out of sight
Ethan carefully balances
himself on the top rail
leap over a pool of runoff water
runs up the driveway
jumping or splashing in
each puddle along the way.

Faith and Mrs. Callahan
sit at the table
next to the window
Faith draws a picture
of a rainbow over the valley.
The front door slams.
Ethan runs through
the dining room
into the kitchen.
He returns, soda in hand
sees Mrs. Callahan
who smiles at him.
You a guest?
No, lad. I’m Mrs. Callahan
your sitter for this afternoon
Ethan pops open the can.
You must be Ethan.
He’s not supposed to
drink soda before dinner.
Mrs. Callahan holds out
her hand. Ethan reluctantly
gives her the soda can.
Tattletale. Turns to leave.
And he’s not supposed
to watch any TV until
he did his homework.
Ethan groans. Slaps his forehead.
Or play video games.
Ethan turns back around
glowers at his sister.
Why don’t you get yourself a nice
glass of milk and come join us?
Milk?
I think that’d be best, don’t you?
No.
Mrs. Callahan, unperturbed,
arches an eyebrow.

Ethan, glass of milk in hand
sits at the table. Looks at the
drawing Faith and Mrs. Callahan
are working on. A rainbow?
We’re hoping to see one.
Yeah, right. It’s not gonna stop
raining. I bet it rains all night
And tomorrow, too.
Mrs. Callahan slides
some paper towards Ethan.
Maybe if we work together
we can coax an actual
rainbow to come out.
That’s stupid.
Sometimes, you just
have to have a little faith.
Faith smiles
at mention of her name.
Ethan continues to scoff.
I tell you what, let’s have
ourselves a bit of a wager
draw with us. If a rainbow
doesn’t come out in
the next twenty minutes
you can watch TV.
And drink a soda?
And drink a soda.
Ethan looks up
at the clock: 4:10pm.
Deal.
Ethan pulls out a chair
sits and picks up a crayon.

The clock: 4:45pm.
Empty milk glass.
Ethan draws a picture
of a fierce leprechaun
guarding a pot of gold
at the end of his rainbow.
Faith leans over to look.
What’s that?
A leprechaun.
What’s a leh-pecan?
They’re monsters
that hide their gold
at the end of a rainbow.
(eyes wide) Really?
Leprechauns can get
a little grumpy, says
Mrs. Callahan, but
they’re not monsters.
You seen one? A leh-pecan?
A leprechaun, dearie.
When you get to be my age
you’ve seen lots of things.
Is gold money? asks Faith.
Lots and lots of money
answers Ethan.
Six thousand dollars worth?
At least.
At the end of a rainbow? Really?
Leprechauns hide their treasure,
Mrs. Callahan assures Faith
at the end of a rainbow, indeed.
She’s just pulling your leg.
(re: out the window)
Would you look at that?
They look out the window.
Across the valley sunlight
pours through a break in the clouds.
The patch of blue sky expands
a shimmering rainbow forms
Faith and Ethan stare at it
with wide-eyed astonishment.
Isn’t that beautiful?
The rainbow becomes more visible
and stronger until it stretches
across the horizon.
Faith opens her locket
compares the two rainbows.
Exactly the same.
Mrs. Callahan starts to clean up.
I’m sure your parents would
appreciate it if we made dinner
for them. What do you think?

If you enjoyed the poems, please check out more of my poetry at Matthew Spira’s Poetry. My first collection, The End of the Rainbow, on sale now. Thank you for reading!

ABOUT MATTHEW SPIRA’S POETRY
My publication contains my poetry and stories. I tend to focus more on people than things, but I write about a wide variety of topics and moods. I am especially interested in the military/veteran experience, (single) parenting, and the bemusement of middle age.

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Matthew Spira

Written by

Just a middle-aged dude doing middle-aged things. Poetry repository: matthewspira.org. 1st collection, The End of the Rainbow, on sale: amzn.to/2x5uj

Matthew Spira

Ever-growing collection of poetry. Now with audio (in-progress)!

Matthew Spira

Written by

Just a middle-aged dude doing middle-aged things. Poetry repository: matthewspira.org. 1st collection, The End of the Rainbow, on sale: amzn.to/2x5uj

Matthew Spira

Ever-growing collection of poetry. Now with audio (in-progress)!

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