new work
Illustration from What is the Full Moon Full of

Previous Stories

Back to index of stories

Shulamith Levey Oppenheim

Unpublished Stories


I Won't Forget Today

"When you were only six months old," my Nana rocks me back and forth, "I called this chair our magic carpet, yours and mine."

Now I am five. My legs hang down and both my feet are pushing on the floor. My head is resting on my Nana's arm. We rock.

"I don't remember, Nana. Tell me why you called this chair our magic carpet. Why?"

"Well, once when you were visiting, the sun was barely up, I heard a knock upon the bedroom door."

The rocking chair has wooden arms.
Knock knock. Rock rock.

"And when I opened it, there stood your mommy, full of sleep. 'She's fed,' she said."

I make an eating sound.
Slurp smack. Rock rock.

"She should go back to sleep quite soon," your mommy rubbed her eyes.

I shut my eyes and make a sleeping sound.
Snore snore. Rock rock.

"I jumped into my robe and took you in my arms. Your Poppy slept right through. He didn't hear a thing."

I throw my arms around my Nana's neck.
We hug.

"So there we were, the two of us. The sky was pink, just like your cheeks. You didn't look a bit like sleep to me."

I puff my cheeks and open up my eyes as wide as wide. My nana pushes in my cheeks and blows a kiss into my eyes.

We walked out on the balcony. "Look there," I pointed to a goldfinch, buttercream. "It's come to eat the thistle seed."

I throw my head waaay back and chirp.
Peep peep. Rock rock.

Nana smiles at me. "And then we wandered round the lawn. The maple leaves were flame and gold. The mums beneath, all tones of rust and mauve. And Oh! the autumn smells of crisping leaves and pine!"

I wrinkle up my nose.
Sniff sniff. Rock rock.

"I showed you everything those early hours. The woodpile where the chipmunks sit and scold, the apple tree your mommy loved to climb."

I pull my knees up, one, then two, and climb the highest branch. I snuggle close. "And then?" I ask.

"And then there was no more amusing you. You fussed and fussed and burrowed like a mole against my shoulder." Nana shook her head.

I burrow like  a mole right into Nana's arm. "And then?" I ask.

"And then . . . .

We climbed onto our magic carpet, you and I.
In seconds we were worlds away.
To lands where flowers never fade,
Where winged horses fly the sky
And with a rub upon a lamp all wishes are fulfilled.
AND THEN, I whispered in your ear . . .

Sophie Sophie sleep and dream,
Peacock feathers have no seam,
Camels drink a mighty stream
Sophie Sophie sleep and dream."

I feel my Nana's hand, it's smoothing back my hair,
I think I'm falling off to sleep.

The magic carpet's taking us away.
I've got to tell my Nana now . . . .


To top of page