Posts tagged "aging"
The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

The Lunch Lady and Her Three-Headed Dogs

I raise my arm to write on the chalkboard, and the skin draped over bone and muscle swings in contrapuntal melody. I am ashamed to be caught in the act of living in skin. I hope my students are not hypnotized by the distracting motion. I hope no one sees this hammock of flesh and...
Holy

Holy

My mother worries about my soul. She tells me so at her kitchen table, 6 a.m. We’re making nut-roll, even though it’s not a holiday, nothing to celebrate. My mother believes bread rises only in the morning. I’m not good with mornings. Last night I stayed up late, reading, worrying. “Ruining your eyes,” my mother...
Naked

Naked

Grandma owned a swimsuit, but she never wore it. She owned other things too, jeans and dresses two sizes small, hanging with tags attached in anticipation of the day they would fit. She wore instead lots of shapeless denim, spent whole days in her dressing gown, loose terry cloth hiding folds of soft stomach. Tonight,...
New Year’s Day 2016

New Year’s Day 2016

Feeling better because I looked up the verb to watch in the dictionary and its root is to awaken which isn’t sinister and since I was trying to figure out why it creeps me out so much that an old boyfriend is watching Latvian girls on his computer who do what he asks and answer all...
Some Childhood Dreams Really Do Come True

Some Childhood Dreams Really Do Come True

Then I wanted to be a mermaid. But first, I needed the tits and the hair. Hair long enough that it fell in naked curves down my naked chest while I lounged on a rock, luring sailors with my song. Now I have tits and hair down to my ass. You’re probably expecting me to...
Advance Directive to my Future Roommate at a Yet-to-be-Named Care Facility

Advance Directive to my Future Roommate at a Yet-to-be-Named Care Facility

For it will come to pass at some appointed hour, that you will sense from behind the pulled curtain of the room we share an agitation of the air, a perturbation of the light, and then a trickle of language, soft babbling you might first guess vaguely Pentecostal, until, breaking forth into raucous splendor, my...
Home Bodily Repair Kit

Home Bodily Repair Kit

I Hair Painting The cuticle of the hair must be opened so that dye can reach the cortex. Open-heart surgery used to require breaking the whole chest apart. All spiritual traditions say you have to lose your life to find it. My body is losing itself, my hair is losing its pigment. More than 75...
Faithful

Faithful

Nobody can call in or out. Her father doesn’t want the ringing telephone to interrupt his wife’s dying, so the phone is turned off. When his daughters remind him that there are people waiting to hear, wanting to know, he roars, “She’s dying. They all know. When she’s dead, you can call them and tell...
A Conversation with My Father

A Conversation with My Father

My father is eighty-six years old and sitting in his reclining chair in the living room. He beckons me to sit on the footstool. He has a request. “I would like you to write a script and make a movie about your mother,” he says. “Her life story,” he adds. I want to please him,...
One More Eulogy

One More Eulogy

–for Forrest Bartlett (1936-2011) I’d arrived a bit late, and the lot for the church had filled up. So I parked in a spot by the shady lawyer’s office, which was closed on a weekend afternoon. By the time I ran in, the tributes had already started, rough and funny and tender all at once, just...
Little Lesson on How to Be

Little Lesson on How to Be

The woman at the Salvation Army who sorts and prices is in her eighties, and she underestimates the value of everything, for which I am grateful. Lightly used snow suits, size 2T, are $6 and snow boots are $3. There is a little girl, maybe seven, fiddling with a tea set. Her mother inspects drapes...
Too Soon

Too Soon

Summer ends too soon this year as all the seasons do. Funny, how after sixty-eight summers, time, the thing there always seemed so much of, collapses in on itself, and I find myself counting out the number of summers until an end. And someone, a woman friend I knew a long time ago, and always...

Incisions

The nurse who preps my mother for surgery is kind. She wears clogs and a smock with balloons and rainbows all over it. Her hair is pulled into a high ponytail. Overhead, the TV is tuned to Good Morning America. The sky over America is popsicle blue. “I like your uniform,” my mother says, her...

Death of a Swinger

At first he was just part of a story, one about a bygone place in Atlanta called Riverbend. In the 1970s, Riverbend was arguably the most infamous singles apartment complex in their short, debauched history in this country. A college football player turned cop, then nightclub owner and real estate mogul, Arthur Jeryl Hensley was...

What Grace There Is

Sooner than you think, everyone will be drunk. You won’t know it, but Kenny will be upstairs banging out a punk rock rhythm on your drum set. The sticks will explode from his sweaty grip. The next day, you’ll find a neat hole punched in the surface of your wardrobe door. The boy you all...

Transubstantiate

They kept them on their dressers, hidden beneath the edge of a doily or in a trinket box.  Aunt Leona’s was the first I saw, before bed one weekend when I was spending the night.  We were listening to old hymns on AM radio, what a friend we have in Jesus and the torments of...

Little Things

My mother’s dollhouse has become a constant reminder of something—what?—in the time we spend with her, if it could be said to be spent. At eighty-nine she remembers very little. She does not so much talk as chime, like a clock with a surreal burden: Do we have anything to eat for dinner? Yes, chicken....

Evelyn

Her name is Evelyn. She’s lived in her house since 1960. She was born in 1915 or 1916, near the Nooksack River, which still floods its banks. These are the facts. This is the mystery: a 91-year-old woman and me. She can’t hear me, but I talk with my hands. Evelyn’s surname is also a...