the days uncoil continuously
the earth proceeds forward
with a zest unheard of
a year since your death
or is it nine months?
five weeks, maybe.
or was it three days?
It was just last Saturday
you ordered the apple cider
for your Keurig.
I swallow a tepid cup of cider
no match am I
for the days and the earth
not a great fit anymore
no choice but to bend
nicely to their will
enjoy the remaining days
an august service
the air cold and acidic
does not stop a thing
This is a response to Shawna’s Melting Monday prompt!
Of your foray in a hospital bed
Did you have an inkling
or did you just see the end
no eye yet for my tool,
that prophetic backward telescope
or did you
feel a slight breeze
a hint and a whiff of something off,
the pure smell of dread
you could not be there
to do the most important thing
to buck the chins
of your daughters up
to not let them ever settle
and despite time’s shedding
and life helping out with her fine-toothed comb
removing all traces of you
a granddaughter you never met
mourning your death fifty-two years hence
wishing she could change
that hospital day
a change that would surely
have blotted out her existence
Shit, Frank thought as he drove up to his apartment building. The neighbor lady was sitting out in her lawn chair waiting for him, he knew.
“He got another one,” she yelled as soon as he got out of his car. He walked on toward his door.
“I thought you said you were going to keep him IN-side?”
“I had to go to work and he got out. I didn’t have any time to catch him.”
“Well, I don’t know what to say. I just feel like I’m just helping him out here with all my birdfeeders.” She was up now and walking toward him.
“That’s two birds in two days. He’s getting worse,” she went on, looking right at his eyes now. Frank looked down at her toes, polished bright red in her flip flops, then focused on the palm trees on her purple house dress.
“I’ll try to keep him in.”
“Something has to be done. I don’t know what I’m gonna do if he gets my dove.”
“He won’t get your dove,” Frank said as he put his key into his doorknob. “I’ll keep him in.”
As soon as spring came his neighbor lady had been pestering him about the cat killing birds, reporting each kill to him when he came from work or popping out on the weekends as soon as he stepped out his door to run an errand. She had her patio spot chock-full of hanging birdfeeders and crap. She also had what she called a white dove that sat on the eave above her door that she pointed out to him every chance she could get. He grew up in the city, though, and he knew that the thing was just a nasty pigeon with some albino gene making it all white. Nothing special about it.
The cat was not his, just a cat he was watching for six months while his friend was in Australia. Well, not friend. Co-worker really, and a little more than a friend at this point. He slept with her once, Farrah, before she left, which is how he got slammed with the cat for six months. He remembered her dropping it off with the self-feeder and self-waterer. Farrah was small with big tits, kind of like his ex-wife, and she had on a tight white blouse. He was hoping they could do it again before she left, but she fussed over the cat and hurried around, moving the food and water from one spot to the next, and then said she was going to be late for her flight so he didn’t press it.
Friday night was what he needed and it chugged along fine. Most of the people who came were from work, but some brought their spouses and others brought friends. Trey and Tess were trying to set him up with their friend Mindy, who was alright. She had smooth tanned skin, small tits, but a really nice ass. But her nose was really big, so he was trying to avoid her really. And he didn’t really want to get involved with anything right now. Farrah was coming back Monday to get the cat and who knows what else. He had all this shit he was dealing with, his ex-wife asking when he was going to visit the kids. She wasn’t really his ex-wife yet, even though that’s how he though of her and he was divorced from her on Facebook. He suspected anyway that she was gonna get her mom to pay for a fancy lawyer and hose him up financially. So the drinking was just what he needed, but not the complication of Mindy.
But then he was in the kitchen getting the last of the sangria. Everybody had kind of thinned out and then there was Mindy and Tess coming in the kitchen from outside.
“We just let your cat in,” Mindy said.
“That looks like Farrah’s cat,” Tess said.
“It is,” said Frank.
“Hmm, Farrah must not have wanted her cat corrupted by our two. I thought I was going to watch him, but then I never heard from her,” said Tess.
“Well, I wish you had watched him. He’s been killing all the birds around here. And I hate cats.”
And then there was Mindy up in his face and pressing her body on him, laughing, saying, “You hate cats, do you? Do you really hate cats?” And she started kissing him right there and before he knew it they were back in his bedroom.
Frank woke up early in the morning with Mindy still sleeping naked in his bed. He left her there and walked through the living room. The short rodent-looking chick from HR, Patty, was still laid out on the floor where she had passed out and Trey and Tess were both sleeping on the futon. He walked into the kitchen, poured himself some water. His head was throbbing.
“My phone. Where the hell is my phone?” Patty obviously just woke up.
“I think Frank put it in the fridge,” he heard Trey say.
“What the fuck? Who does that? Shit,” she said and walked into the kitchen. Frank opened the fridge, pulled out the purple phone and handed it to her.
“Oh my fucking god. I have 56 missed calls. This is shit!”
“It was making all sorts of noises,” Frank said, but she didn’t seem to hear.
“I have a fucking husband you know. And a kid. Shit shit shit! Unfuckingbelievable. I cannot believe you guys did this.”
“Calm down, Patty, it’s okay. You were out of it. And your phone was making all sorts of sounds,” says Tess.
“But who the hell does that? I’ve gotta get home, Trey. Now.”
“Alright, we can go, Patty,” Trey says. “Thanks for having us, Frank.”
“Yeah, thanks so fucking much for freezing my fucking phone, Frank.” Patty says as she heads for the door. She opens it then says, “Oh my god, a fucking dead bird staring right up at me. This beats all. Just my fucking luck!”
Frank went to the door and saw. It was the dove all white and red. He quickly bagged it and put it in the trash as Trey, Tess and Patty left.
Sunday there is a knock at his door.
“I don’t mean to bother you, you know, but the dove is missing. Just since Saturday, you know. And I know you had that party on Friday. We could hear the music. We were wondering, you know, if any of your friends saw anything?
Frank shook his head. “No, I haven’t seen a thing.”
“Well, it’s just, you know… this dove, it was an omen you know. Joe’s been fighting this cancer for two years and it was just since that dove came that he’s been cancer-free. I just don’t know, you know.” Her eyes were tearing up.
“Maybe it just left,” Frank said. “Sometimes they do that.”
“I just hope nothing has happened to the poor thing. I was feeding it every day, you know. It wouldn’t come to the birdfeeders. I just put the food down on the sidewalk and when everybody around here was gone to work the dove would come down and eat. Every day.”
Frank looked over at the eave over her door. He could see bird shit dried up over the edges and then a huge spot of it below, right in front of her front door.
“Well, maybe it will be back. You never know.”
“I know,” she said as she turned to walk away, “maybe it will. I hope so. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
Frank walked back in and shut his door. An omen, good god. Shit happened. Cancer kills your dad. Your marriage falls apart. Omens didn’t exist. She was grasping, that’s all she was doing, grasping at a damn albino shitting pigeon, hoping that would be the change her life needed.
He knew better than to grasp at anything.
Okay, I’m going to start this on a positive note in order to try to be diplomatic.
A lot of people really do think I’m very diplomatic, but they mistake my silence and coolness as being signs that I am thinking over both sides of the situation. Indeed, I most assuredly am not. I am just usually so slow, taking a minimum of three days to think up a good comeback line to the really stupid people I encounter — and sometimes a lot longer. To the point where yes, my comeback comment might be the best in the world, but it is, as my husband says, “at this point irrelevant.”
And so, I will start off with the positive. On the positive note, your persistence is admirable. I can’t even remember the first time you e-mailed me. It could have been three years ago for all I know. I just know you have not stopped. And the lack of response from me has not weakened your resolve. Your endurance is laudable.
Also, the timing of your e-mails is uncanny. You are not one of those blockheads that e-mails someone daily, forcing them to, of necessity, find a way to ban you from their computer completely. No, you only e-mail me every so often, lulling me into a belief that we are just dear old friends who just keep in contact every so often. Well, I don’t believe that exactly. I just tend to forget about it. Until the three weeks later when you e-mail again, and I mean to do something about it, but I just forget. If you were e-mailing more often I would not forget.
However, let me just cut to the chase here of what really bothers me about your e-mails. In a nutshell, it’s the name. Larry? I mean, seriously. That name just inspires a whole lot of dissonance in me. And I’d venture to say a lot of America as well. I will never, ever follow the links that someone named Larry sends me.
Larry was the name of the sleazy dude on Three’s Company.
The other Larry is the guy from Newhart who was just one level up from his two brothers Darryl.
And then there was seventh grade and the Larry who tried to go out with every girl in our grade, plying each one with his St. Christopher necklace and then suggesting sex. Sheesh. I mean sex had been explained to me from a very young age. I had even seen horses do it. But at that age it was just like being thirty – something your parents said would happen to you but again, sheesh, so far away it seemed outlandish to actually approach it in any way, shape, or manner. From a seventh grade girl’s perspective, anyway. And so when it was my turn for Larry to ask me out, as he really did ask every girl in seventh grade out, he tried to hand me his St. Christopher necklace. I just looked at him and said nothing. Being, you know, all diplomatic and all even at that age. Three days later, probably, I said to my best friend, “I think I need a cootie shot.”
And so, while I can understand why you might choose the name Larry, as it is not as common as John or James, and perhaps to you it just seems cheery — just NO. It does not work. If you really want to woo American women away from their rock-solid marriages, go with something a bit more exotic. Anything but Larry. Please.
So, looking forward to hearing from you in another three weeks or so. SO looking forward to your new name. Who knows? It might be just the boon needed for your spamming business. Or not. But it WILL make me feel a lot better – a lot less creeped out, anyway.
And here, I’m just going to sign my letter the way you sign all your e-mails to me. Touche.
Recently I’ve become convinced that the wildlife have hacked the dsl lines in my area and are wildly surfing the internet.
And using it to network, trading tips on where the best meals are. I bet they have their own websites: BestRoadkillCafe.com, HotOffthePavement.org., WheretheWormsAre.com.
I believe in our case we made it to the number one spot on the list of All-You-Can-Eat-Buffets.
How else to explain the fact that we have had chickens for three years and no predators at all?
And then in the space of ten days we have 1 bear and at least 2 raccoons, and maybe something else, because, well, they don’t leave a calling card – just dead chickens.
Well, I lie. We did have a bear two years ago. But it was killed and the problem ended there.
Until our recent massacre.
And then bear #2 came. But we promptly got rid of him. And had one day of peace – before the raccoon(s) started in on us.
And in the end left us with one chicken. (We started out with seventeen).
But no worries. We have installed an electric fence now. Our pen was, we thought, pretty predator-proof. Even the game warden who came out two years ago for bear #1 said so.
And how else can you explain it BUT that they have internet access? I’m positive that the bear’s facebook status was “out at the blue house getting another chicken.” When the raccoons saw that two days had passed and he hadn’t checked back in….off they went. And hit the jackpot.
I just hope they update their status (to “electrified”). And take us off the all-you-can-eat buffet list.