restricted access Her Secret Dream
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Her Secret Dream
Rita Sims Quillen
Fall 2006

In Memory of Ethel Newton Sims

50 years gone and me aloneYou'd think he'd stay goneAwake I can't remember his faceAsleep I can even smell his skin.

You'd think he'd stay goneI can hear his voice clear as rainAsleep I can even smell his skinFeel his bursting heart against my cheek.

I can hear his voice clear as rain.You'd think I'd dream his kiss, his bare skinFeel his bursting heart against my cheekBut my mind takes pity on my soul.

You'd think I'd dream his kiss, his bare skinAlone in my bed 50 years, 50 yearsBut my mind takes pity on my soulIn the mirror I see the made bed behind me.

Alone in my bed 50 years, 50 yearsTrue to my vow to keep my long hairIn the mirror I see the made bed behind me.My dreams are silent and white.

True to my vow to keep my long hairThe big brush is his hand, the pillow his chest.My dreams are silent and white. [End Page 46] I rise from the down feathers and quilt in tears.

The big brush is his hand, the pillow his chest.I'm not weak and sickly, not wearing him outI rise from the down feathers and quilt in tears,Him there smiling at grandkids.

I'm not weakly and sick, not wearing him outWe work and sit wordless side by sideHim there smiling at grandkidsHis fingers inches from mine.

We work and sit wordless side by sideAwake I can't remember his face.His memory an ache I keep in my apron pocket50 years gone and me alone [End Page 47]

Rita Sims Quillen

Rita Sims Quillen is the author of the novel Hiding Ezra and the poetry collections Something Solid to Anchor To, October Dusk, Counting the Sums, and The Mad Farmer's Wife. Quillen is also a musician and multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, mandolin, piano, dulcimer, bass, and bodhran. She currently lives and farms on Early Autumn Farm in Scott County, Virginia.

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