Mom in summer

My mother at home in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania


Dust of the coal mines
on the window sill
lightened to gray
by a gentle snow,
our simple clapboard house
also freshened from within
by the exotic smell of oranges,
a seeming miracle
delivered only at the holidays
from some far off land,
an extravagant purchase
that triumphantly shouts
“Christmas” to us kids –
no coal in the stockings this year!


Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.