Featured Poem • January 2016
Umbrellas of the Aftermath
On the twenty-fifth day after the Destruction, we chose our umbrellas. We eschewed the miniature, collapsible kind; at the end of days, you must abandon convenience and go for the grand gesture. Only the overarching, old-fashioned sort would serve. We gave ourselves up to the protection of their strong spines, outstretched like bat-wings poised to hug. A multitude of traditionalists selected somber black, those who in their normal lives had stuck with suits and ties or little black dresses with a string of pearls, as did the pessimists drawn to the funereal hue and classical music aficionados who fancied themselves members of a celestial orchestra. Some belonged to sects who had determined red umbrellas symbolized life or blue meant hope or white meant the grace of the gods or yellow forgiveness and amassed in single-hued flotillas. Others chose to exit in the colors or designs that pleased them most —there were gardens of Monet’s Water Lilies, cities of Caillebotte’s rainy streets, fleets of rubber duckies. Some of us made our finale one last excuse for self-expression. I dedicated mine to the happy past, slathering in paint a sunset sail, embraces in the grass, childhood friends giggling in a senseless pile, every dog that ever romped into my life. On the twenty-sixth day, our bumbershoots deployed, popping like millions of champagne corks. Our domes expanded like smiles and we ascended.
Sandi Leibowitz is a classical singer, school librarian and friend to dragons. Her speculative poetry and fiction appear in Liminality, Stone Telling, Niteblade, Ellen Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year 5 and other magazines and anthologies. A native New Yorker, she has ridden in a hot-air balloon over the Rio Grande, traveled in the footsteps of medieval pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela and visited with Arthur in Avalon. Her umbrellas are black or blue or otherwise unremarkable as, like hearts, they are easily broken.
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