Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Country

We wrap her in a blanket, nurse
her with yogurt, drops of water,
anything, force antibiotics
into her mouth and hope
she swallows. She hates us
for our violation, but the worry is too great
for manners. Through the window,
with her squirming in my arms,
I count seven butterflies, fluttering,
yellow with black spots, stripes,
Hollywood to a lepidopterist, perhaps,
but moving to me. Overgrown Russian sage
envelopes the porch, the French doors, bees
float, whole flocks of birds I can't name
descend, together, like some sort of tide.
In the evenings, deer graze like
cattle, unafraid. Again and again, I wonder:
how could anything die here?

(originally appeared in Borderlands)


Glenn Buttkus said...

Lovely, sad, and yet winsome. At first I thought you might be referring to a colt, a calf, a lamb, but then it occurs to me that this might be another of the paeans to the mother passing, and those old emotional sinkholes of my own began to reopen. Amazing, yet odd and ironic that when we are flat on our ass repairing a tire along the road, in a sick bed staring out the window, walking the streets searching for a job, sitting alone in a bar looking for love, we really key into the way the world turns so impassively, the insects and birds frolic in the moment, life goes on in all those other windows, lit and unlit.


CLBledsoe said...

It was a rat, but yeah. I was going to post a story about this that I wrote and thought had been accepted, but I can't find any record of that.

Glenn Buttkus said...

So "Slinkie" was the rodent then, and he passed away into the rodent heaven dimension parallel to ours, a bit of cheesy heaven, where Ben and Mickey and Mighty will be hanging out to welcome him? My daughters wanted to have pet rats, but I get uneasy around them; one of those visceral reactions of fear that harken back to a prior lifetime where I was devoured by rats perhaps.

CLBledsoe said...

Yeah, Slinkie was a sweet female fancy rat. I think she had cancer. We've had a couple with cancer and she had similar symptoms. It was very sudden. I can understand the fear thing. I feel the same way about children. Now I teach them. Life is funny.

When I was a kid, we had mice and rats--wild, not fancy. They lived in the walls, sometimes. I was never bitten. I would probably be afraid of rats if I hadn't had them as pets.