GOSSIP TOWN by Allison Seay
When Esther is pouting and knows I am bored with her
she asks if I am having one of my Days,
and I say What? meaning no, meaning yes
I am, and she says again and louder, “Are you having
one of your Days” and the word Days is like a string
of beads she pulls from her mouth,
a long accusatory sound (like feign or blame).
We gossip to kill time though she thinks it is only
any good in a town where people hate (as in hate) other people.
For instance, Hazel Hamilton was dead in her house three days
before anyone went to see her, mostly meaning well.
If I had tried, I could have spied her in the wingback
through a slit in the curtain. Sometimes when I have a Day
(as in Hazel) I spend the afternoon in the yard
and imagine her nest of white hair
peeking over the other side of a mouth-high fence,
ivy draping either side to keep in or keep out
whatever needs keeping. Esther reminds me
about being unkind
lest I die alone and unfound in a chair by a window.
It is such an example, she says, and I say of what
and she is in her pouting way on the paint-flecked glider
I think you know
as though it is a secret between us
(what secret there are no secrets).
Listen to Allison Seay’s reading of “Gossip Town” below…