|They were lovers.|
Anyone could tell.
stroking each other's limbs with oil
careful on every curve
more oil than was necessary
more stroking than was essential
hair shining blonde and dark
breasts teasing colored strings
whispered words against soft faces
a furtive kiss on a pale shoulder
umberellas hot pink, lime green
popsicle orange, every blue in the sea or sky
I brush the sand from my ankles and sip
the rusty sweetness
from a paper cup
of warm Coca-Cola.
Friday, August 31, 2007
from early spring until the snow fell
Shoeless he walked to school
gathered eggs in the chicken coop
kicked at dirt clods walking
as his Uncle Dion plowed the acres
behind the mule, with the 3-legged dog
Etta cooked grits and eggs
baking powder biscuits with honey
all in the woodstove even on
the hottest Tennessee days
He raced with his brothers through the pine forest
way down the sandy lane to the tenant shacks
raked magnolia blossoms on the huge lawn
They waded in the milky
farm pond catching bullfrogs
watching for snakes
and played whatever boys play
in their denim overalls
At night they washed up in the metal tub in the kitchen
cranking water in a bucket from the stone well
never having hooked up the plumbing
to the shiny bathroom on the landing
They slept in the huge room in the attic
with china chamber pots beside their beds
They cut down the cedar tree one summer
immersing the whole "plantation" with the scent
and the green lawn with red shredded wood bits
and strutted in their teenage splendor
back and forth on the fallen giant
Arthur and Byron and Lyle the baby
handsome grinning faces so brown
their teeth glowed white in the photos
Arthur's teeth are mostly gone now
the thick dark waves of hair are short and grey
and spiked in all directions from the pillow
His sturdy brown feet lie quiet
blue veined and soft
whiter than white on the white sheets
He doesn't know his brothers are dead
for my dad on his 89th birthday
September 6, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I'm not sure why. She is beautiful. Her hair is ebony, thick and soft and long. Her paws are dipped in milk with little tufts of hair sticking out between her toes. Her tail is thick and plumy and her chest a white bib. She is prettier than Ollie was. And smarter. Her eyes shine. Or glitter with evil when she is annoyed.
She was friends with laid-back Max, but couldn't abide bouncy Eli until Ollie died. I guess with the referee gone, they had to make their own peace. She doesn't run when he chases her anymore and calmly steps over him to claim her place on the bed. There are no more angry skirmishes in the night.
Chinny was born here in my house in the early morning hours twelve years ago in May. I sat with my glasses and the vet book observing as four black and white kittens slid out of their mother. Each kitten had a white mark somewhere on their head and I named them accordingly to tell them apart. I didn't plan on keeping any.
Michael took Chin away to Syracuse when he went to college. It only lasted until Christmas because of his roommate's huge dog. Michael had to build a ramp for Chin to get to the top shelf in his closet to escape Aslan. He asked me to baby sit the cat when he came home for the holiday. She is still with me.
Chin was here when Willie was born and killed. I almost didn't live through that and still never developed that special feeling for Chinny that I had for Will and Ols.
Do cats feel love? Do they love back? I think Chinny loves me. She seeks affection more than Oliver ever did. He was more the king and I his royal subject. She is on the back of the couch behind my head or on the arm when I am sitting there or trying to lay on the keyboard when I am online. She insists on her nightly love fest when I get in bed, although she is more patient about letting Eli have his turn and he usually moves aside obligingly. She lets me play with her toes and rolls over and presents her belly for rubbing. She likes being combed and lets me take the knots out of her long hair as if she knows I am helping her.
She has been going out on the deck this summer after having been inside for all these years. Getting braver, she wanders a little and is honing her hunting skills, which appalls me when she catches something. She is fast. She plays with toys if I tease her with them, but mostly just does the cat thing, lazing around. She doesn't do the tricks that Ollie did, hiding behind the shower curtain or under the sheets when I make the bed. She will never be Ollie, but she is getting closer to my heart.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
I am wearing my beach hair. I feel pretty, oh, so pretty. I am only partially sane. The house is empty again. The thunder is sneaking around. It thundered while I slept. Eli has become an extension of my body. Now at my feet, curled against my stomach on the bed. I showered him with iced tea, trying to pour it without watching the glass. It fills my lap as well. I don't want to stand up. We will be up late, having slept the evening away.
I thought I would be going to Maine alone. Tony and I have barely spoken all week. He is playing golf tomorrow and will be incoherent by the time I see him. I will do my laundry, take Eli to Carl's, pack and spend the night on Main Street. Tony wants to leave at 5 a.m. I am sure he just said that to annoy me, but I didn't rise to the bait. We'll see, we'll see. What a bizarre life.
Chinny is draped across the back of the couch. She and Eli seemed to have worked out a plan. There is no more arguing for a prime spot on the bed. They even touch noses once in a while.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
We are varying shades of blonde. Neatly coifed and plumply dressed in summer colors. Pink nails, coral toes, myself the only one tattooed and pierced, wild hair. I didn't want to talk about children. I wanted to talk about thong panties and cops in garter belts and California. I wanted good gossip, hair raising tales of neighborhood sex, and drunken barbeques and who we knew had been snorting cocaine.
God, we are all ready for the Price Chopper bus. We parted with hugs and assurances that next time we would bring more photos of the grandchildren.