Published in Lunate, March 2020
It happens when I am folding the sheets. I have a number of old sheets, beautiful, durable, lace-edged sheets such as you never see these days. Perhaps such sheets still exist but I could never afford them.
The sheets came from my mother and my mother’s friend and my mother’s friend’s friend and all those women are long gone. I think of them folding sheets week in week out and I wonder if they looked out of the window as I do now – at the bitter morning edged with frost and the fox’s paw prints on the grass – if they looked out of the window with a heavy heart and considered where life had brought them and if they thought of different lives where sheets might not be folded.
I drop the sheet back into the laundry basket, fetch my coat from the hook, step out into the fox’s paw prints and on I go. Out into the cold and the frost and the new path.