A story by Hunter Liguore
My mother works in the garden not more than twenty yards from the windmill, which rotates the shadows of light and dark on the dew-covered turf. I watch from the nearby rows of summer corn that swallow up the rest of the yard to the horizon.
As the sun breaks over the tallest hill, it looks like a window opening in the sky solely for us to see: mother and daughter watch as bands of orange and red exorcise the remaining night.
My mother’s form is unmoved, hand to brow to shun the bold rays, her dress clean, hair clipped back, neat, a sign the day has started anew. Shifting around her, crisscrossing the field, are tiny birds.
The rooster crows.
The chickens chatter from the pen.
An axe sounds in the woods nearby.
And then there is the tick of the windmill, rotating, as if turning time—tick, tuck, tick, it tries to capture the shadows hopscotching away, bartering another minute.
Life rotating on…
As the triumphant moment presses and every blade of grass tangles with golden light, I wonder what my mother finds in the new sunrise this and every day. It’s the only time I ever see her not doing something—it’s as if nothing can break her from this position until the moment’s passed.
The sun blinds me momentarily as I join her. We look so much alike, the way we stand, the way our hair reveals our faces.
“What are you thinking right now?” I ask, curious.
She only smiles at me, several tears running down her cheeks, as if this is answer enough, and then returns to work.
This work was featured in our fall/winter 2020 issue.