Author Archives: Highwiregirl

In My Time of Dying

In My Time of Dying

I buy apples for the deers that live in the woods behind our house. I usually get the little ones. They come in plastic bags of ten and twelve at the supermarket. I’m not sure how much they cost. Five dollars, maybe six.

That’s the kind of life I live now. I just get fruit without checking the price. Add a sack to the top of my grocery cart when I’m shopping. I have enough money. If and when I’m making a list, I might jot down ‘apples.’ I use parentheses and write ‘some for us’ and ‘some for my friends,’ with a smiley face in the margin. We all like different varieties.

I don’t mind admitting that I come from a place of such hunger where, often times, I paid for my wine in quarters.

I love when our dogs follow me out to the backyard. They chase each other and watch me toss apples over the fence.

He limps behind several other young bucks, all with new, velvety horns. That’s how I can see that they’re boys. One of his front legs is lame. He tries to hold it tightly to his chest, but it dangles without purpose as he stumbles along on his three remaining spindles. Nancy next door let me know he was there. She sent a text message as soon as she saw them this morning.

“Oh, no,” I say, as I watch from the window.

My children are eating their breakfast. Pop tarts and yogurt, the kind that comes with its own granola.

“What’s the matter?” Rory asks.

“It’s a deer. His leg looks so broken.”

“Wait. Broken? Mom, we have to call someone. Animal Control.”

He begins searching my phone, as if I have that number on speed dial. As if he’d know what to do when they answered the call. As if they’d come immediately with the ability to make things better.

“It’s not that easy,” I tell him. “He doesn’t want our help.”

So you’re not gonna do anything?”

“I don’t know what to do.”

“You probably need to stop with the apples,” Rory adds.

“Why?”

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea.”

I stand there for several minutes, until the slow moving group disappears beyond Jennifer’s shed.

None of this is my fault. I say these words inside my head, to comfort myself.

* Artwork: Young Deer by Tamer Marzio
www.salamongallery.com

A Shepherd’s Life is Not an Easy One

A Shepherd’s Life is Not an Easy One

He ran up from behind and threw a hug around her legs as she heated a pot of water for tea. I think that’s how it happened.

Kirin arrives for his visit with gauze, ointment and medical tape to hold the dressing in place, detailed instructions.

“Grandma says you’ll have to change my bandage.”

They send him with scissors. I do not have any, but I resent this gesture. Because I should have lots of things and don’t.

“Does it hurt?”

“A lot.”

“You want cereal?”

“Okay.”

It is Saturday. He watches cartoons while I try to concentrate on getting it together so we can go do something.

I really don’t remember what was so important that we couldn’t just leave. Everything was crucial back then. Making lists and arranging piles of stuff, folding and tearing up pieces of paper. Moving the bed from one side of the room to the other. Counting pills and losing count, having to start all over from somewhere in the middle.

We ride the bus to Toys-R-Us. We buy an action figure there and two big bottles of wine at the liquor store. He is hungry. We pass three fast food places until we get to the pizzeria that sells beer. There’s a black and white movie playing on a small TV on top of the fridge where they keep the sodas. Kirin only pays attention to the commercials because they are in color. When he’s done eating, we go back home.

It takes me all day to even look at the wound, a deep and throbbing third degree burn that spreads across the width of the child’s upper arm. My guilt catches in my throat as I pull the bloody cotton from his skin. I am confused by what I see. The whole area looks like uncooked meat.

Kirin holds his breath. His eyes are squeezed shut, and when he opens them, he asks, “You know what you’re doing, right?”

I cannot help but feel relieved that I was not to blame for what happened.

But aren’t I? After all, a little boy should be with his mother.

* Artwork by Scott Conary
www.scottconary.com

The Details Of Which Are As Follows…

The Details Of Which Are As Follows…

I was the one who wanted the second dog, a sibling for the first. At least, that’s the angle with which I approached my husband – the importance of family.

“She looks so lonely,” I said to Dave.

“But she’s not,” he replied.

And as much as they love her, the kids weren’t all that anxious to add even more doody to the piles of doody they’re already picking up. Sure, it’s a funny word, but let’s be honest. Doody is sobering.

“Mom, things are fine just the way they are.” Desmond was particularly insistent. “What’s gonna happen when we leave for college? Two dogs will be more than you can handle.”

“Son, college is like five years away.”

“The time goes fast, though. I’ll be gone before you know it.”

I read somewhere that animals cannot embrace new information until the specifics are physically introduced into their lives. They’re not equipped to appreciate changes to their environment before said environment is actually changed.

For example, I told Zerega that Jesco was coming.

“Soon, you will have a baby brother. And he will be your favorite friend.”

As I spoke, she listened intently for key words, like “cookie” and “supper.”

Beyond that, she was completely disinterested.

Invisible Feeling

Invisible Feeling

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Right now is the minute for me.

I am reasonably comfortable.
This feels like a pretty nice minute.

Another will be along shortly.

Here it is now… And there it goes.
How lucky! Two good ones in a row.

Little packages of unrepeatable time.

I try to receive them well,
And simply let go when they are done.

Ha! Like there’s ever a choice.

* Artwork: Invisible Feeling by Shiori Matsumoto
www.shiorimatsumoto.com

School Days

School Days

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When I was a young girl, I got decent grades… until I started drinking and getting high. After that, school was stupid. I couldn’t wait to be free, so I could do whatever I wanted.

Today, I am grateful for meetings, reading and service work. These simple activities help me feel like I’m dong my homework.

I enjoy being a good student! I guess I always did.