The Fieldstone Review

Hidden Message

by Trudy Grienauer

that moment
when I leave the pulp on the stove
and step into the hallway
to take your lab coat from the closet
your presence is palpable
not just because your name
is printed in the collar
in your self-confident hand lettering
you’ve been using these coats
around the house
painting walls, making jam
ever since
you left your career
to raise me
and my sister
I have this one
that you shortened to the skirt length
fashionable in ‘71
and then let out again
to put on now
to briefly feel that I am you
thirty years ago
and while I step over to the linen closet
and get the spill cloth
for wiping the jars’ rims
I feel that quite possibly
it was more than an apron
every day in the kitchen
when we came home from school
you were always standing
apron-wrapped
and I can see that sometimes
you needed that coat
to make you feel professional
competent
and respected
and the work worthwhile
like paid work
the pulp is simmering
and starting to bubble up
it will make new stains
on the coat
fresh stains layered over washed out ones
my cooking layered over yours
almost as bizarre
as the views you had in ‘71
through your electron microscope