You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2012.

A bassinet with dewy green pillows and an embroidered name. Two fathers holding hands. A hospital crib with wires and tubes, the little arm with a blank tab. The first squeal of life in a sterile white room. An empty womb. Two signatures on a dotted line. A peach-soft head with tiny blinking, yawning eyes. A rattle with a squeak.

A stop sign on the side of a yellow bus. Mother may I play again? A Barbie head in a toilet bowl, smiling. A fight at the bottom of the stairs in adult voices. Tears and a tooth pearl under a pillow. A lopsided pumpkin smile at Halloween and sweet ache in a stomach. Firefly fairies twinkling at night.

A handprint on a cheek. The last exhale before swinging a bat, following through and watching it sink. A boy and girl holding hands, sneaking kisses in the coat closet. The Mongoose without training wheels, racing down Kill Devil Hill for dinner. Class field trips in a cacophony of kids echoing in museum halls. A sticker collection hidden inside a makeup case. The first guitar string strummed.

A year of firsts. The lead in the Music Man. A kiss on a porch swing at midnight. A basement haze filled with coughs and laughter. The unanswered math problem on a green chalkboard. “It only hurts when I’m awake.” A white computer screen at 3am.

A car wrapped around a tree, but the lights still blink. State Champions. Limousines, dresses, kisses, hands, flasks. The quiet one singing a solo on the graduation stage. A bottle of pills on the bathroom sink. Checks from strangers stuffed into a piggy bank labeled, “Party cash.” Books that cost as much as the car on Wiedelbrook Road.

$-0.20 in the bank, because that’s what Ramen costs. A doll that breathes and screams when held. The voices all speaking in rolling, racy, RRs. A face from Wisconsin on an ID from Louisiana. The school of work provides no degrees. Laughter everywhere like the chiming of bells finding harmony.

The colors of club lights are warm like sunrise. The bars are stale with working-class sweat, the bar games rigged like carnival ploys. Say good morning to the sun. Second-class airplane trips to the bright lights of anywhere but here. The funeral parade starts a march, with tulips on their graves; give a eulogy to nobody. Love tastes like apple pie and Play-Doh.

The bassinet at the bedside is safety-tested and wicker-woven. A glass of wine at night and sometimes noon. A freshly mown lawn coated in wet grass. I do until the depths of the oceans and the peaks of the mountains lift away. The faces at night all blend together to form the same high cheeks. A dog curled at the end of a sofa, tags thumping softly.

The promotion to conquer taxes pays the broken furnace. This is what empty feels like. “Soccer practice – thurs. @ 5pm don’t forget!” The hospital sheets shaking and drenched in sweat. A cross-country bike ride that lasts all year; the sun smiles through the Grand Canyon. The side of a yellow bus and a tiny hand waving away.

The art of throwing Thanksgiving. A casket lined in velvet, with the photos resting on top. A boy and girl holding hands, sneaking kisses in the backyard. Half of everything. A $150 bottle of bourbon .

Fifty-hour work weeks are wearing the bottom of shoes and thirty-year relationships thin. Sunday walks around the lake, with a breeze tickling and a tail wagging. The firm-stop deadline. A heart attack three days after graduation. A kiss opened every morning and sealed every night.

Gladiolas swaying in the front window provide a morning view. Refurbished tractors line the front yard. The laughter has changed to grunts and baby giggles. Twenty jars of tomato paste crowd the top of the refrigerator.

A broken back. A ski trip in three feet of snow. Say good morning to stars twinkling into sunrise. The AARP envelopes are on time.

The bed is too big for one person, too easy to sink into the imprint of the past. Fall comes later, years turn slower, stars are faded. The bassinet was burned for winter firewood; the safety stamps are outdated. Two rocking chairs creak on a front porch.

The new home is filled with starch white sheets and strangers; where did the garden go? With vision gone, walk with slow steps and a smile. Hands visit and borrow with sticky fingers.

Breathing is a dull ache in the lungs. Laughter bubbles everywhere, protected from popping.

A casket.

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