Thursday, A Little Before the School Bus is Due
How do I write about how I got from washing dishes in the kitchen
watching sparrows fighting and mating and nesting through the window over the sink
hands damp with soap bubbles and bits of last-night’s dinner to here,
curled up in the yard, knees against my chest, sharp blades of dry grass
poking my cheek? There must have been a moment when I
put down the dishes and opened the door, walked down the stairs and consciously
decided to lie down on the grass, assumed this position, it all seems so important
not that I know how I got here, but that I don’t move from this spot.
Some time this summer, I will build a bat house with my daughter to hang
in the tree, just above where the sparrows have all built their nests. I can see my hands
working with wood, expertly, without splinters or pain or mistakes.
Somehow, I’ll get near the top of the tree, find only steady branches to balance on
nail them into place. My daughter will be so amazed, I can picture her amazement
at my carpentry skills, my tree-climbing skills, my gentle rapport with nature.
I am the best mom ever.
I close my eyes and see all of these actions so clearly I’m sure
they must already be done, there is no need to build bat houses
or paint extra bird houses, or nail anything to anything. If I can get
from the kitchen to the back yard without remembering even taking a step
then these things I can imagine in such detail, with such clarity
must already have happened without me, too.
Spiders don’t like to be caged
even if they don’t ever go anywhere, or even if it’s for their own good.
After a couple of days
they stop making webs across the glass
stop scouring the perimeter of the tank
stop trying to push their legs through the fine mesh
of the lid. Instead, they will eventually fall
to huddle in a corner, legs curled around their bodies
as if in self-embrace, self-defense and finally,
they just die, fade into dried-out
exoskeletons, fur-covered carapaces
indistinguishable from the corpses that tumble out
of the vacuum cleaner bag each spring.
Holly Day has been writing professionally for 30+ years, with over 7,000 articles, poems, and short stories published, and several dozen nonfiction and poetry books in print (and one novel on an obscure, near-impossible-to-find publisher).