Monday, June 15, 2015

Post-silent Treatment

(The following is fiction.)

We've just dropped him at the office. He took with him a lunch and the choke-hold on our voices.

"Don't you think the mountains look like a green blanket thrown over some junk," I say.

My daughter squints through her sunglasses. They are pink with little mustaches. "I can see it," she says. "It does!"

"They're not junk!" my son protests. He's five and to him words have singular meanings.

"Stuffed animals then."

My daughter gasps. "I can see the folds. It's exactly like a blanket."

"They're not junk!"

"You're right. Bad comparison."

We talk about metaphors on the drive home.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jogging in Headphones

I don't hear my feet pound the sidewalk.
I see them--
Blue blurs, floppy laces.
I can't hear myself breathing.
          But I must be.

On the loop by creek,
The slugs' trails are silver dashes,
Like strands of ghost-pearls strewn over the concrete.
Some slimed across the walk only to loop back into the crab grass.
I am strangely relieved that most completed the journey.

I race past a few (four, five, six)
That were splattered by giants,
          and giant bicycles.
They were asteroids up against the Earth.

If I spot one struggling to the other side,
I pick it up and drop it safely across.
Have I saved it
Or denied it something?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I'm trying to read "A Rose for Emily" at the pool

I'm trying to read Faulkner's "A Rose for Emily" at the pool.

Someone, Emily, has died, and there's mention of the Civil War, and my son, G, wants to go on the slide. The red one. No. The green one. Okay. We climb the tower, and he shivers in the breeze, stomps in the puddles, and says, "Mom will you ride with me the first time?" Yes. He pinches his lips together and his dimples show. The green slide wins.

I'm back with Faulkner. My towel soaks through. Miss Emily didn't have to pay taxes--under the ruse of...something. The loud speakers are pounding out a song that's more bass than lyrics. She has a crayon portrait of her dad. G drew his dad on the next page. And another of two people arm in arm on a beach at sunset. Is he, at seven, already a romantic? I don't fret; the next is drawing of Squidward.


They have their arms around each other.


This line, "She looked bloated, like a body long submerged in motionless water," makes me self-conscious lying in the sun in my shorts to conceal my thighs that touch. Could do without that bit, Billy.

There's a stench at Emily's and people are milling about trying to figure out how to kindly tell her. They push the job onto Judge Stevens. He chickens out. A couple of men sneak over to Emily's at midnight and sprinkle lyme under the house. A youngish girl hustles past, her arms in prayer stance, to her towel. Her body drips on my pages. They're not ruined, but now they, too, have a scent. Chlorine.

Emily buys arsenic. My ten-year-old wants a cookie. I dig them out of the cooler. The chocolate chips are firm. Miss Emily gives the eye to a Homer fellow. There's rumors of a wedding. Will Smith tells me to "get jiggy with it" and some hirsute "bra" is shouting across the lawn to a friend, "You only live once!"
     Emily--did she? Live? Or just tap her foot at Death's door?

Homer was the smell. Homer was the body poisoned. Now he is dust. From dust we began and from dust we must return. The sun pinches my skin. All this talk of dust...
I think I'll take another dip.


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