The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Friday

Evil Eye
By Jane Shore

When my daughter was two,
watching The Wizard of Oz on television,
the moment the Wicked Witch appeared in a scene,
Emma would walk, as if hypnotized,
to the glowing screen and kiss
the witch's luminous green face
in the same placating way
my mother used to kiss the little silver hand,
the charm she wore on a chain around her neck.

The day Emma was born, my mother
bought a yard of narrow red satin ribbon.
She tied a bow, several bows,
and basted the loops together in the middle
until they formed a big red flower
she Scotch-taped to the head of Emma's crib
to protect her while she slept.
My mother made a dulpicate,
in case I lost the first one,
to pin onto the carriage hood.
"You can never be too safe," she said.

My mother used to coo in Yiddish over the crib,
"Kine-ahora, kine-ahora,
my granddaughter's so beautiful."
And then suddenly as if remembering something,
something very bad, she'd go "pui pui pui,"
pretneding to spit three times on the baby's head.

My mother wasn't some fat bubbe from the shtetl.
She owned a business, drove a car.
I'd never seen her act this way before.

Sitting at her kitchen table, she lit another Kent.
"You should have given Emma an ugly name
to ward off the evil eye.
Harvey Lebow, the brilliant young concert pianist?
The evil eye was jealous, so it killed him.
Mrs. Cohen, who won the lottery
and went on a spending spree?
A week later, she had a miscarriage.
Remember Bonnie, the doctor's daughter,
you friend who died of leukemia
when you were growing up?
Her mother wore a floor-length mink;
they had a pinball machine
in their basement rec room.
That's like an open invitation."
My mother stubbed out her cigarette.

My hand fanned the smoke away.
"Ma, You don't really believe
in that hocus-pocus, do you?"

"Maybe not," she said, "but it doesn't hurt."


I have finally seen Flushed Away, with the kids, while folding laundry, a late-afternoon sick-day distraction, perfectly delightful particularly when the slugs parody The Lady and the Tramp with the spaghetti but then one accidentally eats the other and also when the mime Marceau shows up to act out The Toad's instructions. Plus the music was great, the animated London and sewer-London were quite amusing and I forgave the rats for looking like Wallace and Gromit characters because Nick Park played the voice of one of the slugs. No, I am not developing a thing for Hugh Jackman, whyever would you ask that?

Younger son has to turn in his course registration for next year and is debating Spanish vs. Chinese for his foreign language; I'm pulling for Spanish, as his best friend is from Venezuela and Spanish is older son's best subject with no effort on his part -- he's nearly fluent after only a few years of school instruction and chatting with friends who speak it as a first language. It's more practical, given the number of Spanish speakers he knows in school and will likely meet in the job market, and it's nice for him to know there's one subject he's always aced. I'm a bit concerned that younger son may get fed up if Chinese gets difficult and want to quit the way he's lobbying at present to quit violin. He's sticking with intermediate rather than advanced orchestra for next year, which I think is the right decision; he won't be so frustrated about having to compete with kids who've been taking private lessons since they were three.

The Union Drummer Boy sells relics and souvenirs from the Civil War, the Gettysburg battlefields in particular.

Like this elaborate saddle...

...or this tree with shot buried in it.

A surgeon's kit. I imagine potential recruits were never shown these.

The store has many guns and swords... well as items like this birdcage.

This log, found in Georgia, has shot from both the North and South embedded in it.

I am so irritated at the extent to which Hillary and Barack are Playing Politics As Usual that I am unable to sit through "debates" anymore or TV networks deciding which bits of whose speeches to run. So since my state's primary is over, I am just going to ignore them and hope the party doesn't tear itself apart before the convention and give McCain an opening he doesn't deserve ("I did not have sex with that lobbyist, Miss Iseman") -- no, of course I don't care about McCain's private life, even if he did ditch the wife who raised his children while he was in Vietnam for a younger, richer one, but I would like his marriage held by his followers to the same standards that the Clintons' continues to be, to Hillary's detriment. I wish Barack's speechifying did not leave me so frustrated at their lack of substance because I really would love to vote for rather than against someone, for a change.

Right now on the news they are doing a story about how this year's flu shot isn't stopping people from getting the least I'm not alone, as apparently it's widespread in 45 states. Looks like freezing rain on Friday, kids could have delayed opening or early closing or both...guess I'll have another day at home trying to kick this thing.

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