The Slow-Cooked Sentence


Rachael Conlin Levy
138/365: Sprout!
Courtesy of Magic Madzik.

It’s a flat, gray sky, no dimension or variation to the clouds that have been pulled over the treetops like a giant blanket. Another day under cover and I sigh as pinto beans skip across the counter and I sort out the moldy ones. After the beans are simmering on the stove, I take one of the rejects and push it into the wet soil outside my kitchen door . Tomorrow, when I wake, I’ll find a giant beanstalk growing there, its thick truck bending and pushing through the fence that divides my yard from Lorna’s. I will step out onto the kitchen stoop and, setting my cup of coffee on the steps, will grab hold of a thick leaf stem and pull myself up. The stalk is firm and fleshy, the leaves wet from the night’s rain, so I climb slowly so I won’t slip, yet I make progress. Cool shreds of cloud swirl around my arms and neck and far below I see the patchwork of roofs with their mossy tiles. A crow eyes me from its perch on a tree. Great view, I tell the bird who doesn’t respond, and since there’s no one else to talk to, I climb on, wishing I’d worn something more sensible than a purple bathrobe. Tiny drops of water cling to the fabric, making it heavy and damp. Up I go, pausing now and again to cup my red hands and blow warm air on my fingers, but not wondering where I’m going nor what I’ve left behind, just climbing to the next leaf,  then the next, and the next, so I don’t notice when the gray lightens and thins, until I’ve poked my head through the top of the cloud and am engulfed in light. It tumbles out of a blue sky, bouncing and giggling across the brilliant cloud-floor. I blink, squint and, finding the surface springy, yet firm, haul myself up and look around at nothing going on forever. No castle, no giant with nostrils sniffing for an Englishman’s blood, no bag of gold or harp to steal, just endless sky and light, and now me there in the emptiness, too.

8 responses to “Potential”

  1. I've always thought about bouncing on top of the clouds. What beautiful writing. I feel a bit sad though…

  2. Kyna says:

    Reminds me of the flights I would take out of Kansas City. The city would be mired in mud, everything wet and gray. When the plane broke through the clouds, I always marveled at the sunshine and brilliant blue sky above. It's like I hadn't realized that the sun is always shining – somewhere.

  3. Rachael Levy says:

    Kyndale, it's funny how sadness soaks through, even when I don't intend it to.

    Kyna, it's a good thing to remember, that the sun is always shining somewhere.

  4. Maybe I was sad and that's what I took from it. Really, it's just beautiful imagery. Flying and being on top of the clouds makes me feel alone even though it's so light and forever up there.

  5. anno says:

    gorgeously dreamlike … reminds me of how I feel after a migraine clears: so light; rinsed clean.

  6. Rachael Levy says:

    Thank you, Anno.

  7. I really like this, Rachael. It swept me away, high up into the clouds.

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