The harp sits in the corner gathering dust, ever since Petra’s dog Maisy got spooked by rustling in the cornfield. A possum? A snake? Petra had reached down to calm the marble-eyed wolf-shepard mix she’d coddled from a pup, and lost of a chunk of finger in a frenzy of growls, barks, lunges, snapping jaws.
The drive to the hospital dragged in slow motion, Petra squinting through the grimy windshield, blurred by tears and pain. She sobbed at the railroad crossing, waling “Mama,” though Mama was dead ten years, dead before Petra’s first public harp concert, her contract with the Symphony, her first solo CD.
An E/R nurse with glasses swaying from a blue macraméé chain gave Petra a choice between orange and apple juice while they waited for the hand surgeon to drive from Ladysmith. Would Maisy still be in the cornfield, slavering, wild blue eyes darting? The nearest neighbor was a quarter mile off, twin toddlers in an unfenced yard. Petra called her brother, choked out the story, then dozed under her coat and a paper blanket.
She woke to a low voice muttering about grafts, joints and tendons to the same, patient nurse. The doctor pretended the injection wouldn’t hurt. “A pinch,” he lied. “A tweak.”
But now, no worse anguish than an evening alone, with no Maisy for comfort, watching the harp lean against the wall, facing away from Petra as if they both had been betrayed. She strains to picture it frame by frame: tilting the harp and swiveling into position; embracing it in her arms.
Gail Louise Siegel’s work has appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies, from Ascent, Elm Leaves and FRiGG, to Matter Press, New World Writing and Story Quarterly. She has an MFA from Bennington College and lives in Evanston, Illinois.