A King Arthur Home
by Monterey Sirak

An age-spotted hand pulls back faded flour sack curtains
in the window of an old run-down farmhouse
A woman gray hair combed neatly into a bun
peers across the side fence that belched
most of its pickets during the last fierce storm

She looks at the knotted wire clothesline
Remembers when it was filled with
little slips covered in miniature pansies
and the King Arthur logo
flapping in the springtime breeze

She preferred King Arthur to Gold Medal
for the flour sacks washed up softer
felt nicer against the skin

Her generation learned to make over
make do or do without

Her little girl once got excited
to pick the designs on new bags of flour
Then happily rode the pedal
on the treadle sewing machine
while mother stitched a new pinafore

The woman slowly moves into the kitchen
Washes up remnants of a lonely meal
Dries one cup and one plate
with a neatly hemmed flour sack towel

Remembers how she always kept
her girl’s hair in tight pigtails
tied with store-bought ribbons
Some things small things
didn’t have to be made by hand

Remembers the day her girl removed the braids
combed her hair to fall loosely about her shoulders
and stepped smartly through the door
in search of her own life
So many years ago

She does now as she did then
and cries softly into her flour sack apron

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