Posts tagged "aging"
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...

On My Birthday, A Wish for My Mother

Over these still-unlit Colorado foothills, I watch a single cloud build like breath, an enormous pink wing buoyed by a sun that has not yet touched the valley floor to coax ravens into air, or turn creek water to fire, or hammer gold bars from the dull blades of my backyard windmill. The cloud glows...

The Pillory

A replica of a pillory in a replica of a Colonial town.  My right arm into the right hole, my left arm into the left.  My neck went right through the center.  I laughed, not because there was anything remotely funny about being hung up in a cross, but just because it felt good to...

May Showers

Like this, the man says, smoothing a dollop of salve across his wife’s shoulder blades, over the rashes blooming there like teacup roses. With two fingers, he works the cream in circular motions down her rib cage, along the row of black stitches lining the curve of her spine.  Look here, he says, and here....

Duck, North Carolina

Once, walking, I found on the sand not a butterflied clam but a small tooth. We have been coming here so long that we can point out where the road used to end, though we differ: some say the fish hut, others the rental shack. Pretty soon there will be a baby, eating great fistfuls...