The Fitting

Image credit: Anne-Sophie Guillet. https://annesophieguillet.com/
When her maman died 
Marie flew ten hours to
the ancient French village
where the houses
steepled the church,
their mansard roofs
brown from neglect.
The Weeping Willow
in front of maman’s
weathered hovel
did not match
Marie’s feelings.
It never did.

Inside the furniture
had aged into antiques.
The handmade chaises
with ladder backs and
unadorned ticking,
French oak dinning table,
the vaisellier darker from
decades of hearth ash.

The rose print wallpaper had
faded to shadow bands,
the town print on the mantle
now almost sepia,
her first crib picture a fading
black and white dream.

Maman’s single bed existed
pushed into the corner
of a windowless chambre,
almost a frenzied fever
blue room delusion of
Van Gogh’s last dying days.

Hanging alone in the closet was
maman’s noir widow’s dress,
the one Marie imagined maman
would be buried in. That was
until Claire, the old neighbor next
door, gave Marie maman’s ashes
in a simple wooden box
with a gold filigreed clasp.
Pinned to the dress was Maman’s
will written in her eloquent hand
on unlined French folio.

These cinders, this shuddering land,
this dress with all its memories,
and grief would be her inheritance.

Marie held the dress to her as
she returned to the archway
of the still open door.
The lace sleeves were shorter
than she remembered,
but it would fit her very well.
Just beyond her, the country road
with its oaks grasping for union
stubbornly remained a horse trail.
Jonathan Moya reads The Fitting