Thursday, July 22, 2010

"Don't touch that!"

"Don't touch that!"
The man bellows and claps his hands, startling everyone in the museum's art gallery to turn and watch as his little girl pulls her frightened fingers from the frame and runs to her mother's curved hip. A short un-swallowable moment happens then and the girl's muffled moans escape from between her small pink lips. Quick rapid sniffles tremble her tiny nostrils and, like a fickle floral elevator, her knee-length yellow sundress moves up and down, following her shuddering shoulders until they eventually settle on street level. Bing. The doors open and the woman nearest to me makes an exaggerated frown of disapproval. I make her a half shrugged smile and follow the family out.

"Don't cry. We're here to look, not touch."
The mother says.

But the suddenness of this sadness has already started and like a gardening hose that has been turned off, the tears will gush until they're gone. And so they do, and with her thumb plugged as a pacifier, the little girl follows behind her mother, whilst we, her protectors, stand by listening as her tall, short-tempered father with sophististicatingly silver hair snorts snot up into his brain and coughs flem playfully between his teeth and tongue, as if to be polite. As if he is always just trying to be polite.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Hidden Squeaker

After we return from our morning run, I let Penny outside to do her security check, as we call it: scanning, sniffing and sprinting the backyard's fenced perimeter for bad guys, foreign smells and birds to herd into flight.

"Wanna go outside?" I ask and her tail-flipping-rump hits the screen door as she bolts for the back. A brownish blur. I walk to the kitchen for a glass of ice water and wait for her joyful furry face to appear panting at the door, but several minutes pass by quietly. No sign of a thirsty dog.

Curiously and slightly nervously, I venture outside. "Penny?"
I ask. 

No response.

At the top of the garden's steps, beneath the great oak tree, I find her. 

"Penny! STOP iT!.... Penny, stop! PENNY!"  I cry in shrill frantic desperation. 

She stands before the body of a dying squirrel. Her pretty yellow paws poke and prod, hoping her prey will play, but it just lays there, breathlessly crying for help. When I don't save it, Penny picks it up with her mouth and crunches the body gently between her teeth. (She's looking for the hidden squeaker.)

After accomplishing nothing, I run into the house. Outside the door to the bathroom, I hiss for the help of my husband. 

"Scott! Penny is killing a squirrel in the backyard. Help me. Please!"

"How did she catch-?"

"I don't know."

Scott goes to the backyard. When he finds Penny, she immediately drops the deceased and turns herself in.

"What should we do with it?" He asks.

"We drop the body in the river and NEVER speak of this again!"

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Our words disguise themselves as black bird bounty hunters,
running the telephone lines between our bedrooms,
taking offense prisoner and demanding jars of tears
for ransom. Hastily, my messengers
leave me for she and the rubber
lines begin to rise, fray and gather
into a blurred mass of curly cassette tape ribbon -never to be restored or replayed.- The birds dangle, strangled by the mangled snarls of misinterpretations and debatable dichotomies. A useless illegible mess waiting to be smoothed, soothed and perhaps even removed.
You can disown me.
My stubborn sister states with the frustrated finality of fragility.

Mother may I borrow your sharpest comb,
your gardening gloves and your best kitchen knife?
I can't de-tangle the ties of my thick knotted no's.
I can only sit here, watching, waiting
for a great wind to blow us back
to when we were girls.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Read

Tied to the bricks of a book, I sink blissfully into this evening's quiet,
my eyes frisking forth to follow the flow of dried black ink as my long fingers quickly flip to next pages where hours go missing like little white wealthy children, silently, as if they want the attention. Give your husband a spontaneous intermission, he says, fumbling for my face, his nose pressing my cheek for answers. Toast to clumsy comfort, I say, clinking the frames of my thick plastic glasses into the silver rims of his spectacles as we pout and press our lips like grandparents.

Later, when it should be time for sleeping, the stolen hours begin to sob and sweat for Spanish-speaking nannies, but I smother their mouths with grass stains
and continue to read.