FNS: Woman in the Attic Ruminates While Waiting for the Gutter Repairman by Sherry Rind

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Every Friday night we feature a short story, essay, personal narrative, poem, spoken word, or short film for your enjoyment.

Tonight’s poem is from Sherry Rind.


I must look presentable
when the workman gets here to fix the gutters
and not like an escapee
from the attic
although my study is the attic
and I spend most days here
engaged in the same act over and over
and getting the same result.

It’s the hair, mostly.
Having leached electricity
from my brain during the night,
it whirls like Einstein’s halo
but messier. At my age
it is no longer charming.

I wonder what hollow-eyed
really means—effect of starvation
or just a restless night’s
wash of purple.
Theory says a welcoming smile
cures most ills, but I don’t want my grimace to frighten
the poor man who might already be quailing
from the roars of two dogs c
lawing at the windowsills.
(Note to self: repaint windowsills.)

Given the house’s age and decrepitude,
you’d think the dogs would be accustomed
to strange trucks pulling up in the driveway
but, no, each represents an outrageous new attack
on sovereign territory
and each generation of dogs teaches
resounding barking to the next.
I am an historian who records
each passing layer of life, theirs and mine.

I’ll just apply the water treatment
to calm my hair
and exchange my bleach-spotted hoodie
for a less careworn
look and pretend I’m more than half
the woman I used to be
when I got different results.


Sherry Rind is the author of four collections of poetry and editor of two books about Airedale terriers. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Anhinga Press, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission, and King County Arts Commission.

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