Edward Michael Supranowicz is the grandson of Irish and Russian/Ukrainian immigrants. He grew up on a small farm in Appalachia. He has a grad background in painting and printmaking. Some of his artwork has recently or will soon appear in Fish Food, Streetlight, Another Chicago Magazine, The Door Is a Jar, The Phoenix, and other journals. Edward is also a published poet.
Artwork by Edward Michael Supranowicz
It took a long time for Michael to work up the courage to ask Kate out. She was the beauty of the county, but also had the sharpest tongue of any woman he had ever met. Again and again he watched her carry soil from the creek to make flower beds atop the slag and black dust that surrounded her family’s shanty. Eventually she asked him if he were so lazy that all he could do
was stand there watching her or whether he might give a hand. And that was enough opening for him. Six months later they were married.
But in 1917 there was trouble at the Kentucky mines, and trouble usually meant violence. Michael didn’t worry about any harm to himself, but he fretted about Kate, could not stand the thought of the overflow of violence between the workers and owners getting anywhere near her.
Michael had been told by friends that there was work in Columbus, Ohio, but neither he nor Kate were easy about the thought of living in a tenement or leaving family and friends behind. But then Kate’s father died coughing up black strings from his lungs. Sometime during the vigil for the dead Kate decided she could no longer stay anywhere near her family home, and could not look each day at the graves outside her door.
The first thing that Kate did in their new home was ask Michael to build flower boxes for the windowsills. Then in a neighboring empty lot, she filled buckets with soil and carried them back to their apartment. On sunny days, she would sit in the kitchen in her flowered blue dress and watch the sunlight caress the flowers she was nurturing.
The ventilation in the tenement was basically nonexistent, so Kate thought her cough was from drifting smoke. But the next day she was so weak she could barely move.
The doctor Michael hired said there was nothing he could do, that it was the flu, so just watch her, make her comfortable, give her plenty of liquids. By the time the doctor returned the next day, Kate had died from what would be known as the Spanish flu.
Michael muttered that he didn’t know how he would get Kate’s cousins up there to wash her body and to sit in the vigil for the dead. The doctor scoffed at Michael as though he were just a dumb hillbilly, told Michael that people didn’t do such things there and that Kate’s body must be taken to a morgue to cut down on the chances of spreading the disease,.
About midnight Michael could no longer bear being without Kate. He started walking to the morgue where her body was being held. The back door was open, so he went inside.
Kate’s body was naked on a slab. And nearby, an attendant smoked a cigarette and leered at her. In a quiet rage, Michael knocked the attendant unconscious. Michael then grabbed a sheet, covered her body, and carried her home.
Michael washed Kate’s body and dressed her in her favorite blue dress. He laid her out on the kitchen table and sat beside her through the remainder of the night.
The sun began to rise. It streamed across the flowers in the flower boxes, then outlined the flowers on her blue dress. And Michael held her left hand, waiting for the flowers to bloom.
From the Editor:
We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.
Founded in late 2011, In Parentheses prides itself upon analysis of the current condition of intelligence in the minds of these young people, and building a hypothesis for one looming question: what comes after Post-Modernism?
The idea for this magazine stems from a simple conversation regarding the aforementioned question, which drew out the need to identify our generation’s place in literary history.
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By In Parentheses in IP Volume 7
32 pages, published 1/15/2022