If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Magpie Tales 62, 'The Guest Twin'

Meg first slept in the guest bedroom when Rocky came home sans left leg. It made better sense then for Rocky to convalesce in the marital Sleep Number California Queen. He consumed most of any bed: his three remaining limbs spread wide to displace his weight or, possibly, to achieve some sort of buoyancy that might lift his needled hide from the sheets. Meg had even thought (then), that Rocky deserved the better bed, ‘for all that he had been through’. Of course there was also the fear of bumping the raucous stump.

     Meg’s opinion however, of what Rocky had ‘been through’, changed dramatically by the time the prosthetic had arrived. His morphine induced prattle leaching through the baby monitor Meg had purchased and placed on the nightstand beside the Guest Twin, ‘for emergencies’, had kept her awake for nearly two weeks, giving her plenty of time to re-evaluate Rocky's state.

     Meg’s sleep deprived mind made no attempt to gloss the truth: Stupidity had cost Rocky his leg. Rocky's mother and brother both lost limbs (and subsequently their lives), to diabetes. He knew full well how to avoid the same fate and had ignored everything the doctors instructed, choosing instead to pray and expect a miracle.

     Meg brought Rocky his breakfast in bed until he was able to crutch himself to the table, the blank in his pajama bottoms sewn up and out of the way. She watched him eat eggs over-easy and spread the jam on his white bread toast that he refused to go without; spoon pure sugar into his coffee. He needed a couple vices, he told her.

     It was at the breakfast table that Meg began to notice Rocky’s eccentricities, the odd smackings and grindings that had never made her skin crawl before. It was at the breakfast table, too, after hobbling out on his titanium replacement, that Rocky had asked her when she was coming back to the Sleep Number.

     Meg was kind enough to tell Rocky that she had come to enjoy the Guest Twin, the smallness of the bedroom. In truth though, Meg saw Rocky with the remainder of his extremities shed, one for each dollop of jam he ate on his white bread toast. He was a freak, an ignorant pink lump. She could never sleep beside him again.

     A week later, Meg boxed up Rocky’s left shoes and took them to the Diabetes Center. She learned with the donation that not everyone lost limbs to diabetes because of ignorance, like her husband had. She had begun to think that, begun to put all diabetic amputees into Rocky's shoes. Rocky's shoe. The knowledge helped. Some. Though nothing would stop her from picking away at what remained of Rocky, until finally, he vanished entirely and Meg slept like a baby in the Guest Twin.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Magpie Tales, 60

Magpie Tales

Midday, the muck of low clouds became a steady, gentle rain.

   On the thatch roof, its murmuring reminded Anna of breezes that once ran through her father’s fields of ripened wheat. In the heat of those younger summers, the sound had been a comfort, drawing out the poison of loss like loving fingertips.

   Anna let some of her worry fall with the tender patter. Maybe they wouldn’t search in the rain—question.

   She let drift her focus,  from the gateway she had been watching, to the beads of rain gathered on the window pane. In the tiny convexes she found  gap-toothed smiles, Mayan ruins.

   Anna wondered what Maria would see in the droplets:  lovers entangled, a bandersnatch. Maria had the imagination, the dreams. Anna's head had always been full of numbers and useless facts.

   She took her father’s watch from her dress pocket. Two-thirty. Maria was late. She looked back at the gateway anxiously.

   Anna had been instucted to leave at three ‘o clock, regardless. But how on earth was she supposed to do that, when Maria had the change of clothing, the food, the names, the route. This was her dream. All Anna had was the money. Same as ever.

   ‘Just go!’ Maria would say. ‘Try! Live!’

   Anna left the window. She found a knife and cut the star from her dress. It's dark image remained above her breast, a brand, she was sure, her money couldn't erase if she was captured.

   Maria would have gone anyway; taken the risk. But she wasn’t Maria. Hope had always been harder for Anna to find.

   Dusk followed the rain. Under its cover, Anna went to the well behind the farmhouse, a waste-high ring of stone under a limed shed. She took the coil of rope from its peg and fed the bucket down into the well's mouth.

   Anna washed her face in the icy water she had drawn. Maria was gone. They had her. She was certain of that now. She wanted to cry, but couldn’t. Hatred and atrocities had worn that ability thin. She looked out over the fading landscape. Even if she could reach the border and cross, would she be free, carrying this loss?  

   Anna fussed with the rope’s knot, slick and swollen tight to the bucket’s handle. When it wouldn't come loose, she placed the bucket over her head, handle under her chin. Tipping the brim back enough to see, she swung her legs over the edge of the well. She glanced once more at the empty gateway, then fell into the dark mouth of the well.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Magpie Tales 59, 'The Backdrop Painter'

Magpie Tales 59

My name won’t ring any bells.

There’s no face to it.

In a crowd of heavies
only the keenest minglers
note my signature spears of juniper,
my wilting inlets,
draping the sallow masonry
that would otherwise grace porcelain shoulders.

I suppose I could brag.
where would they be without me?
The Plains? Another blazing sunrise?

I prefer though, to remain the bright glade in passing,
turning the occasional head,
whose accolades never loose their savor,
fading in mass, until unnoticed
like valleys, bridged behind a masterpiece.