Washed Away – by Richard L. Matta

She’s up there in her baggy military fatigues, grease-stained
t-shirt, John Deere hat, and scuffed combat boots trimming
the tall hedgerow, preparing it for holiday lights. Homage
to her father, humiliation for her husband who suggested
we hire help. There’s always the chance the ladder feet won’t hold
as I look at the timer for the sprinkler system. I stand there
beneath her as she shouts and points through the trimmer’s din
at its little gas tank. I turn my gold ring on the way to the garage
for gas, knuckles oversized and red, my knees and hips ache.
By the time I return from the empty garage, from the gas station
where I thought again about just filling up the car and never
coming back, she’s already fed the shrubs strings of lights like
a high tide delivering colored glass. I hear the outside
shower and she’s standing there, her thick hair half-way
down her back, soaped up. She looks over her shoulder
like a lioness, and I’m lost in the golden high grasses again.


Richard L. Matta, originally from New York’s rustic Hudson Valley, attended Notre Dame, and subsequently practiced forensic science. After many stops along the way, he now resides in San Diego, California where he caters to his golden-doodle dog. Some of his work is in Healing Muse, Ocotillo Review, San Pedro River Review, and Third Wednesday.