Before My Piano Lesson Cat Woman, pale and severe, was systematic: first the older daughter; then the little one. She spit in her hankie and rubbed their faces. The girls were compliant. Walking up the stairs for my lesson, I’d pray that Cat Woman would just read her magazine this week. I’d take out my [...]
We will not cast people out for their choices in lip color, hosiery, language, religion, or the lack thereof. We will try to be “with it,” but not too with it—if you know what I mean.
Parties of the first and second part:
Whereof two bile ducts agree to be stingy;
two hearts to pour generous;
ears pledge to listen more than two tongues wag;
tell tales and re-remember.
…waiting for her at breakfast, all that old anxiety fills my eyes and chest and breath; she feels like a limb again.
Of course it’s the favorite stuffed animal that takes the most journeys and therefore increases the odds of disappearance. And face it, how long will a kid cry when she loses the toy she didn’t really care about? I don’t think my four year old lost the bear. And while I tend to misplace things, I always find them. The disappearance of Yellow Bear still mystifies me. Yes, I blame myself.
She could close every comment, every argument. Last words were her specialty: last words and stage whispers. She could keep a list a mile long. She could drink scotch and laugh with the men. And with the Bitch, I was funny and glib. With her, I had a context, a ‘tude, a style. With the Bitch boa wrapped around my shoulders, nothing could hurt me. My stride was, sexy, witty, and impermeable.
When my parents were still here for me, I asked and avoided, I listened and ignored. When I became a parent, all that programming poured from my firmware and wanted control. Would I live the legacy or change it? Would I be blind? conscious? fearful? or defiant? I retraced those steps right down to the words and deeds that had made me shudder a few short decades before–”because I said so” or “you just have to do it, you don’t have to like it.”
First, the sandwich bag was all wrong. It could be any plastic bag that found its way into the house, usually cradling my Dad’s stiff shirt or the Tribune. These bags were huge, unwieldy and, by the time they reached the cafeteria, sticky inside and out. The sandwich didn’t float out— often the bag would have to be removed from the sandwich.
The life she crafts—unconsciously and with fierce determination—is Goddess at her core. She is that composite we never really see in our lifetime, that we often don’t trust to be there—that vast well-spring we might not even dare to be. But we are here, anyway, in spite of ourselves or with calculated assertion.
I’ve been working on and off with the material for Ephemory since my Mother died in March 2010. I always knew I needed to work with my family’s legacy of immigration and NAZI persecution. As Mom’s last breath left her, I finally felt the charge—both permission and mandate—for me to write this. For all the [...]