Nonfiction

Proletariat, photograph by Carmen Urrutia

Because Heaven

B ecause the cookie store was only three minutes from my house, and it smelled like heaven. Because the cookies were still warm and the soft, doughy middles and the melted chocolate chips tasted like heaven.  Because I didn’t eat them all at once (because my heart might not take that). Because I ate just a tiny piece and saved the rest for later. Because there would be more tears later. Because my horse died that day, and I didn’t see it coming. Because he was given a clean bill of health just two days before. Because that morning he ate all his hay and his timothy pellets with gusto. Because I turned him loose in the round pen and asked him to move in circles around me. Because he was nineteen years old, and he knew the drill. Because his lips were closed tight, his head up like a sail, and he covered the ground with his hovering strides. Because he was strong and beautiful like that. Because the morning was cool and the movement was easy. Because no alarm went off to tell us to stop. Because he hit the side panel and one back leg curled up, and I thought it was broken. Because he fell to the ground and all four legs went limp. Because he was shaking, and I sat by his head and stroked his soft cheek and told him what a good boy he was while he breathed his last breath. Because he’d carried me safely for seventeen years. Because the cowbirds rose from their roost on the rails and circled and spiraled above where he lay. Because I was numb when the woman arrived with a trailer and winches to pick up his body. Because she looked at his handsome fit frame and said, “This isn’t right.” Because she took him away and I don’t know where and I don’t care because it wasn’t him anymore. Because his pen is now empty in a row of pens holding horses. Because my heart now has an emptiness I don’t know how to fill. 

 

I’ve been searching all day for a little piece of heaven. 

Because all good horses go to heaven, don’t they?

 

Author's Comment

The world, with all its splendor and all its heartbreak, gives writers an endless mishmash of material to dig into and pass from hand to hand until some essence is left that inspires words to flow. With my writing, I strive to create little pieces of beauty with words. In this case, the use of anaphora helped me access and process difficult emotions in real time.

 

SPIRIT CAPTIVE, Jerusalem in Poetry, Prose and Paintings
by Helen Bar-Lev
      Spirit Captive is the impressive collection of poems, short stories, memories and artworks that Helen Bar-Lev presents to us as a declaration of her love for Jerusalem, a city harboring as much pain as pleasure. Through Helen's eyes, we see contested Jerusalem through the seasons and the hours, a city of exquisite beauty. To appreciate the real spirit of this work we should start from the end: reading the poem Spirit Captive, we can feel the bond that exists between the poet and her chosen city. We can also sense the universality of Jerusalem – the painful, sometimes suffering, beauty that permeates it. In A Love Poem to Jerusalem, Helen wonders if God created the sweet air of the city just to intoxicate her and if every stone or gate or flower may have been created as a source of inspiration for her paintings. This book is Helen's masterpiece, where her poems, prose and paintings pay magnificent tribute to Jerusalem.
— from the review by Lidia Chiarelli, President, Immagine & Poesia, Italy
    Available from BookBaby and Bookshop.org, shipping now.

Bio

Paula Brown is a writer and poet whose work has appeared in the Tiny Seed Literary Journal, Anthology Nature, Wising Up Press Adult Children Anthology, Adirondack Review, Whitefish Review, South Dakota Magazine, and North Dakota Quarterly, among others. She lives in Tucson with her husband and a pack of dachshunds.

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