Posts tagged "childhood/family"
How Daylight Saving Ends

How Daylight Saving Ends

You died, my son exhales, a week before his fifth birthday and an hour before the clocks turn back, because a man in New Zealand wanted more sunshine—not time to be with his children, but to go bug-hunting after work. You keep dying, he repeats, every time I close my eyes. And he’s crying. Not...
Agostino Road

Agostino Road

I am sitting now on the warm sidewalk in front of our brown duplex surrounded by spikey balls dropped from the tree my mother calls our Liquidambar. My tree feels alive like a grandmother as it trembles its soft leafy hands, hands that shield my sidewalk from the hot sun. My memory begins here when...
Games

Games

My dad carries a trophy over the threshold and into our living room—a glinting gold whirly bug gleaming between two pillars. It shines the way I want to shine in his arms. My older sister and I inspect the inscription on the little plaque: 1985 Las Vegas Whirlyball Champion. Mom holds her wooden spoon in...
At Sea

At Sea

  He holds the rock in his hand, size of a grapefruit, color of an orange if the orange had been scuffed with sand. Rough and bumpy, surface flaking with dried mud, it glitters in the sun, and I think how when I was a boy I might’ve been scared, the idea of my dad...
The Crab Story

The Crab Story

  Nancy would tell me to write about the crab; the crab’s funny, it’s human, it’s real, not like the oxygen or the catheter or the morphine; the ugly accoutrements to death are too predictable, she’d say, no one wants to see that mess; maybe the crab story is the direction to take, the one...
All Hat, No Cattle

All Hat, No Cattle

  All hat no cattle, C says as we drive through Lubbock, Texas. My endometriosis has flared and we’re on our way to Fun Noodle Bar when we pass the boy in the Ray Bans and the fake cowboy hat, his upper lip bristled with a patchy 20-year-old mustache. The boy drives a pick-up truck,...
Balsam

Balsam

    When I overheard my father say the words master baiter, I thought it must be the ultimate fishing lure. I practiced writing this new phrase in a spiral notebook, never once trying to spell bait like ate or eight. My father’s only magazine subscription was for Outdoor Life, and by the time I...
Bus Stop

Bus Stop

  Bus horns wake you, alone in bed with the kids — you drove up for his conference, you knew he’d be gone all day — last night he said “All of Chicago is your playground,” while you fussed about the room searching for bus fare, your head drowning with worry: ‘What if we don’t...
Decade

Decade

I sit on the pool’s edge and watch my daughter swim. She dives underwater then surfaces beside me. “Momma,” she says, “I was trying to see how long I could hold my breath…what it would be like to drown but couldn’t. I popped up for air.” I kiss the top of her swim cap. “Your...
Welcome to the Grotto

Welcome to the Grotto

We drive to Dickeyville in search of Jesus and find him entombed behind glass. My seven-year-old daughter Ellie marvels at the mystery. Of all the places Jesus might’ve called home, how did he choose a small town somewhere in southwestern Wisconsin? Welcome to the Grotto, a sign reads, Gift Shop in Back. We exit the...
The Reincarnation of the Absent Father

The Reincarnation of the Absent Father

“Oh, hi,” I said, holding my newborn son for the first time. I took in his translucent skin, red fuzz, bright baby blues, and…didn’t recognize him. “Who are you?” It hadn’t been like that with my daughter. She’d had the look of my husband at birth so completely that I could only laugh at her...
A Small Consolation

A Small Consolation

“Don’t hold your breath, baby. You’ll turn blue,” my mother always said. But my five-year-old daughter inhales. She holds her breath until her skin flushes, her eyes bulge, until I stop clipping her nails. “Okay, okay.” I drop the clippers on the dining room table, zip up her coat, slide the straps of her backpack...
She Titles the Email “Things are Moving Along”

She Titles the Email “Things are Moving Along”

My best friend from high school emails me, It’s been so ungodly hot. Her horses go unridden and stand under pitch pines, slapping horseflies away with tangled tails. I remember Virginia in the summer, humidity threatening to throttle us. We’re down to three dogs, she writes, because Kylie got hit by a car a few...
Something to Lie About

Something to Lie About

My fourteen-year-old sister electrocuted herself in the bathtub in the Bicentennial year, 1976. She had memorized the Declaration of Independence; she had crocheted granny squares in red, white, and blue. We lied for decades, saying “accident” and “carelessness” to explain how the blow dryer got into the tub. The lie blurred the explicit nature of...
Not Nothing

Not Nothing

My mother tells a story from when she was pregnant with me. The early eighties. My father came home in the small hours of the morning from the bar—the one he both owned and drank at two blocks from our house—after my mother was long in bed. Common when he drank, my father couldn’t go...