Pretty Bottles All in a Row
My grandparents’ home was thumb-smashed into the side of a mountain.
The garage, a dark cave with drills, hammers, and chains crisscrossing
from the rafters. Above it was a wide porch. A swing at one end
and a slider, covered in cabbage rose vinyl, at the other end. It would squeak
and rustle simultaneously when propelled by your feet.
My family would pile into our Pontiac station wagon, and traverse
Caesars Head to spend afternoons with my father’s parents. After Papaw
passed, they told me he was an alcoholic. I don’t remember that. I do recall
a chest filled with carved wooden toys, his ability to tell a tale, and his laugh.
Half-Camel unfiltered. Half bubbling mountain stream.
I also recollect all those pretty bottles on the kitchen window ledge. Some
slender; others rotund or just plain squatty. Bright blue, ruby red. Gulf green.
The sun would hit them right around noon. Each bottle glistened. Throwing
a rainbow against the kitchen walls. Painted, covered what this grandchild
didn’t know. Didn’t want to know.
Carol Parris Krauss is a mother, teacher, and poet from the Tidewater region of Virginia. In 2018, the University of Virginia Press recognized her as a Best New Poet. This Clemson University graduate has work published in numerous online and print magazines such as Louisiana Review, Dead Mule, Broadkill Review, Schuylkill Valley Review, Storysouth, Amsterdam Quarterly, Hastings College Plainsongs, and the South Carolina Review. Her first book, Just a Spit down the Road, was published by Kelsay in 2021 and she was the winner of the Eastern Writers Association Crossroads Contest.