Quilts by Stephen Orr Manning
We did not know why at first
but she started making quilts
for kids, grand kids, relatives.
Her kids drove miles in the dark across the barren prairie
to sit at groaning tables
at family gatherings that were
warm forgettings of the outside world.
She helped to cook as long as she could,
from her cart.
Common items were stored on lower shelves.
We cooked, we ate. We laughed
together, for a little while.
We cleaned up, she returned
to quilting so we’d have our
legacy ahead of time.
“It is enough for us that we are together
laughing,” we said. “For a
little while.” A little while longer.
But it was not enough for her.
She would leave some thing.
How ironic. She didn’t even like baseball.
Some new wonder drug is just around the corner.
The packages kept coming in the mail.
Finally, the telephone rang.
There would be no more quilts.
After thirty years working, traveling, and studying in Europe, Stephen Orr Manning retired and returned to his native South. The two regions furnish ample material to keep him amused, and he often struggles to keep from laughing at the Ghosts of Absurdity Past, Present, and Future.