Rosary of Sales

A hundred times
we must have driven this road.
A hundred times
and still,
like an aged priest
whose faith can no longer
be born out by actions,
only words,
you rattle your litany.

"I sold a car there,
Henderson.
Worked on the railway."

Then a pause as wheels
measure the distance
between lives.

"Sold trucks there,
MacKay.
Had dairy cows."

Like beads between fingers
memories slip through your lips
and I smile in anticipation
as we approach
the next house
for I have learned well
your rosary of sales.

"Got stuck here
on Nuttby Mountain
in a blizzard.
Stayed in that yellow house.
Coldest night I ever spent."

I ask the questions
I've asked a hundred times
never tiring,
never saying
I've heard it before.
The years I see
on each farm we pass,
I see also in your face
and I know I must
enjoy your rosary
before final benediction is passed
and I am left
with only your memories
of each house
as a shining bead
in your string of sales.

Penny L. Ferguson