Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World
By Sherman Alexie
The morning air is all awash with angels . . .
The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.
I wonder whom I should call? A plumber,
Proctologist, urologist, or priest?
Who is most among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because
He's astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. "Hey, Ma,
I say, "Can I talk to Poppa?" She gasps,
And then I remember that my father
Has been dead for nearly a year. "Shit, Mom,"
I say. "I forgot he's dead. I'm sorry—
How did I forget?" "It's okay," she says.
"I made him a cup of instant coffee
This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years—
And I didn't realize my mistake
Until this afternoon." My mother laughs
At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days
And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings.
Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback.
Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.
We had a mostly quiet Saturday getting ready to go to my in-laws Sunday morning. Paul wanted to make cookies and Swedish rye bread, so we wanted to stop at Whole Foods to get ingredients, which meant we were near both the Hair Cuttery and Croydon Creek Nature Center in Rockville Civic Center Park. So we went to see the reptiles in the nature center -- they have many turtles, several snakes and toads, plus a beehive and an injured screech owl -- and walked around a bit on the rocks above the creek, then we went to the Hair Cuttery and forced boys to face the evil shears (younger son took off barely a half inch from his long hair, older son took off a couple from his short hair). And we went to Whole Foods to get rye flour, Bombay potatoes, etc. and to Petco to get cat litter and an all-important laser pointer, which has worn Daisy out.
An eastern box turtle peeking out of its log.
A big fierce snapping turtle. This one can't live in the wild, sadly.
I believe this is a rat snake, unless it's the pine snake and I have them backward!
The toads here live very well and get live albino crickets for lunch.
The little injured screech owl who lives in the nature center and clucks at visitors.
The queen bee is the one with the yellow dot on her back.
And these are not at the nature center, but at Petco...a Siberian hamster mother and her nearly-grown babies. Aww!
Evening entertainment has been the awesome Patriots-Giants game. I am so glad the Giants came to play, and even though I root against the Giants nearly all the time, I felt badly for them when they started to let the game slip away. I have no big investment in seeing the Patriots go undefeated (Miami's 17-0 record came against the Redskins in the Superbowl), but I'll root for them to do it at this point -- I like Brady, I just tend to root for NFC teams if they aren't, like, the Cowboys. Hey, it sounds like the Redskins game is on nationally so we'll probably get it at my in-laws'...