Postcard proseIssue 01 | November 2008

Vanitas

by Janice D. Soderling

This Swedish hostel, once the parish poorhouse, lies just across the road from an eighteenth century stone church. From my window, I have the same view as the elderly indigents of half a century ago. Morning and evening, the graveyard opposite would have been a daily iteration of memento mori.

One afternoon, surprised by a sudden shower, I find shelter inside an ancient lakeside washhouse with a jetty where the village women once pounded and rinsed family clothes and linens. The dilapidating walls are the same color as the wild strawberries that huddle there in the late afternoon sun. The newly rinsed air is fresh and cool and clean with a mix of fragrances: red clover and something like jasmine, newly-mown hay and all the green odors that gather and lift after a rainfall. I stand sniffing like a doe with its fawn before turning to follow the swollen brook back through the meadows.

Evenings I sit in the hostel kitchen, writing, with a pot of strong tea and a candle for comfort. The immense quiet is broken only by those snaps and creaks that inhabit old houses. I am partial to old things: old peeling doors, rusty gates, overgrown paths. Old things know how to relinquish the past; they have learned how to make peace.

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok