Posted by: Kathryn Hulick | December 18, 2008

Soul Music

New Boston, NH, June 16, 2008.


“It’s time you left, Eliza. Time to get a move on, get out, take off, conquer the world.”

I look back. Hearing that voice again, even just in my mind, freezes my feet to the ground. All those words about leaving and all I want to do is run back home.

“This ain’t your home no more. Not once it happens. You’ll fly away, girl, fly like the wind.”

I lift one ice-block foot. Grandmam, there’s no way I’m flying with these clunky things attached to me. No way I can lift off with my big, boyish hands and feet, long, heavy braids, and cheap blue jeans.

I imagine the windows of the house winking at me. Maybe Grandmam’s up and making coffee, shaking the beans into the filter while she hums soul music.

“Soul music is the only kind of music there is. You take it with you wherever you go, Eliza. You got soul music inside you, and no one can hold you down.”

My own feet can hold me down, though, and they’re slower than molasses icicles. It could be the early morning, just shy of four-thirty, before even the paper boy comes by. Or maybe the chill in the air. It should be coming on to summer now, but winter’s holding on–his white fingers of snow still seize the ground.

“Don’t you turn back, girl. Chin high and keep on walking. You’ve got wings, and you know it.”

I lift my chin and the music floats up to my lips. I only hum at first, then the words come. Only they aren’t words I’ve ever heard before, and my own voice feels like a jet airplane rumbling through my throat.

My fingers and toes tremble with sound as winter’s last fingers retreat from me, melting and sinking into the new blades of grass.

My voice has the power to change things.

That’s the thing that happened.

That’s why I have to go. There’s something in the world to be changed, and I’m the only one who can change it.



  1. welcome back! It’s nice to read your work again. Where was the picture taken- I can’t place it?

    • Walk out our door that opens onto the road and look up at the house with the stone wall terraces. I took this one evening last spring after a storm left behind this weird light everywhere.

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