She is numerous.
I number my days
according to her slights.
She cheapens my gains
with nestled half-truths.
Sometimes she is muted,
her woebegone stare,
her artificial pout
hanging in space like ellipses.
I hate her and it grows
exponentially each day.
She is deleterious to my sanity
and very particular that I should remain
maternal and at arm’s length.
Her behavior is outrageous.
She watches from on high
while the consequences take effect.
Her tongue is parched
from stirring the same acerbic soup.
She greets me with a sneer
and amasses my doubts around her
like a suit of thorns.
Alice was not a product of science but a product of hope. A hope, albeit threadbare, that held two very special people hostage for over 10 years.
Joseph and Avina had been trying for years to conceive. The strain of infertility tore at their marriage and at their faith in the universe’s benevolence. Alice was a miracle and with her birth they grew both individually and as a unit. Alice was a precocious child full of light and wonder. They spoiled her and she loved them without embarrassment as only very small children can.
Alice died when she was 6 years old, drowned in the river behind their house. She had been told never to go to the river by herself but on that particular day she decided to exercise her curiosity. It was a beautiful day, a day of invitations, spring after a long and isolating winter. She had been coloring in her room when she noticed something by the water. To an adult’s eyes it was only a trick of light but to her mind it was proof of the impossible. She crept out through a side door while her mother made lunch and down to the river’s edge. She hadn’t intended to get wet, only to investigate.
The day that Alice died the willows bowed their heads deeper and wept. Each night Avina and Joseph crept down to the star-glazed water and cried alongside them.
I chose When Willows Weep at Night
Our fingers tenon,
sheets an epigrammatic tangle.
We are wrought of the same
rusty Monet sunsets,
two canvasses, one ineffable portrait.
I peer back at you
with a lemon tart smile,
we’ve overslept again.
The vases by the bed lay broken,
victims of our latest scuffle.
I want to climb you like a hill
and ride your contours
down into oblivescence.
I want to love you
until there is nothing left
to differentiate us.
Sam bought our hamster Stella last summer as a surprise for Isadora and I. Stella is a Syrian hamster and like all hamsters she has that adorable vacant look but if you ask me she is as smart as a hamster can be. Three days after we bought her she got out of her cage through the hole intended for a water bottle (for some reason the pet store was out of water bottles). We found her 24 hours later when she came out for a drink, she’d been living in our Christmas tree! Since then we have gotten to know Stella. She is a very sweet hamster, very patient with my daughter, and super duper curious. She figures out her toys very quickly so we have taken to buying rat toys for her instead. She does not run in a wheel like other hamsters either so she is a little more challenging to keep amused. We bought her a little cabinet recently for hiding treats. The animal is supposed to pull the string in a special way to get into the drawer, not Stella she opens the drawers with her hands. Duh isn’t that how drawers open?
Wednesday night Isadora left her cage open and the door to her room. We have Stella in a safe room encase she would escape. The door to that room has a very very low clearance and shuts securely. The room has no cables and no nooks for her to hide in so aside from chewing some wallpaper not too much trouble to be had. Only it doesn’t work as a safe room if you leave the door open! Anyway Thursday morning we realized she was missing and we pretty much dismantled everything in our efforts to find her. Stella does not wake up for anyone, in the daytime she is a blob, completely 100% relaxed, no fucks given so we knew she’d never come out in the daytime. We saw evidence in the hobby room where she had shredded some wrapping paper but no poops (Stella is very particular about where she poops). We set up some food piles with flour around them in different rooms in an effort to track her. The next morning we found 2 food piles were gone the one under the stairs and the one in the kitchen. But both tracks led to dead ends Still we suspected she was in the kitchen because honestly our house doesn’t have that much hiding places as far as houses go (by that I mean inaccessible areas). On Friday Sam uncovered her hiding spot. She had gotten under the floor/in the wall behind the kitchen sink. In the process of getting there she’d chewed up the dishwasher cable because sadly it had gotten in the way. We were unable to access her in anyway so it was a wait and see situation. From her location it was possible for her to get outside (a big worry because we get a lot of cats in our yard).
Friday night we set up a bucket trap and hoped for the best. That night Sam snored more than he has ever snored before so I heard nothing of her comings and goings. Stella did not fall for the trap she did, however take the food we left for her under the stairs. We realized more aggressive measures were needed so we barricaded the kitchen and duck taped every nook and cranny. We also created a one-way exit using the bucket trap. Sunday morning I got up super early to see if we’d caught our little hamster and there she was just sitting by the barricade in the open. The barricade was keeping her from the food under the stairs. She had avoided the bucket trap by ignoring the treats and jumping off the ramp (and they say bucket traps are effective but Stella was never fooled by it). She looked up at me and got into my hand without making any fuss. My poor sweet hamster just couldn’t fathom going to bed hungry. I don’t know how long she had been waiting there but she had plenty of time to bolt as I had to walk down the stairs to get to her and I am not a ninja. She seems okay except that she cut her hands on the fiberglass insulation a little. She was very good at letting Sam examine them and he doesn’t see any sign of infection.