Her shirts and her dress looked to her like creatures that never wanted to be born, the way they wilted into themselves, sinking under the water as if they only wanted to be left there, maybe to find some deeper, darker pool.
–Marilynne Robinson, from Lila
Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
In the spooky lyricism of this passage, a proud orphan finds solace in the melancholic pairing of laundry and imagination. Through the gentle precision of Marilynne Robinson's language, Lila turns her old shirts and dress into sorely needed companions. Perfectly matching the wilting, lilting quality of the clothing’s sojourn in the river, the sentence’s final clauses loll from side to side as they sink toward their end. What would, in another writer’s hand, be a mundane description of the most domestic of activities is, in Robinson’s, an illuminating insight into the loneliness underlying a solitary woman's daily chores.
–Ilana Sichel's most recent story appeared in Prairie Schooner