Our fence, her highway, three times that we know of. Once struggling in thick ivy, an ashen color, a naked tail that made us mistake her for a white rat disturbing the leaves. Next, she cased the neighbor’s vegetables. Finally, she came with two juveniles following in a line.
It was daylight, an unusual time for them to be about. Overcast, so that might have helped. The mother was scruffy, the youngest sleek with soft fur. We didn’t see them after that.
Maybe the camera scared them off.
Or is it that they change hunting grounds every few days?
“The moment you accept your own death, something in you changes.”* Words spoken by a Ukrainian refugee slumped on a shelter bed, phone in hand. Resigned. Her words resonate, a reminder of my mother’s decline.
Mom has changed. She says very little, sleeps a lot. No more raging temper tantrums over how much butter there is on the toast. Little things matter little, big things less. Nothing big like Russian planes threaten Mom. Nothing external. Nothing like this Ukrainian woman faces. And yet she is upended. Shuttling from hospital to rehab, death has crept inside my mother, weighing her down.
* From The Economist April 30, 2022 “The Wreckage Within.”
The last time we met you was before Zoom was the go-to way to say “Hello.” A long time ago, but we remember.
Your three year old was a baby. She’s distant, no interest in meeting strangers. As long as you hold my phone for her, she likes the photo of the lizard camouflaged in the dirt.
“The ground is moving.” Enough to entice a child to get acquainted. It’s a tuft of dried grass, to be precise. A nose pushes up, sniffing the air, reluctant, the way we were when we took the risk to picnic in the park.
Priest asks Jester to amuse him. In an elaborate ruse, Jester collects 300 roubles from Priest’s wife to buy 1200 pounds of fish. No fish. Priest doesn’t much like that trick. He can’t catch Jester, so he’s out the money.
Jester tricks Merchant by substituting a goat for himself. He tricks seven greedy jesters three times. The change ups are funny, as is staying one step ahead of a powerful adversary who’s not up to speed.
Abused by the jesters, Jester lures them into sacks to drown in the lake. An early grave to those who can’t outsmart a comedian.
From The Jester in Russian Fairy Tales by Aleksandr Afanas’ev
They flew in shield shape, banking together. Not a bird was out of formation. The fluid group landed in a mulberry where they plucked juicy fruit, bringing the tree to life with their acrobatics and mid-air high jinx.
Such handsome fellows, masked like robbers, with subtle rusty red and muted yellow highlights on their mourning dove grey cigar bodies.
My camera disrupts them, but not before I have a picture. A silent order travels through the troupe, wings flutter together, they move with one mind. They will be back; they have no choice. It’s how they earn a living.
Sherlock Wolff tracked the notorious hacker, Lorelei, to the Rhine Club. Concealing himself at the back, he scoped out the exits. She sang. Too late, he noticed his cocoa turning wolfsbane blue. The arrest warrant in his hand wavered like a timepiece in a Dali painting. He found himself on stage.
Instead of serving the warrant, he was served. Instead of arresting Lorelei, she handcuffed him. Wolff’s supervisor appeared. “Good work, Detective Wolff.” He shook Lorelei’s hand.
Wolff couldn’t find his tongue.
He woke up in a Bavarian jail. The woodcutter in the next cell said, “Don’t I know you?”
My boyfriend dumped me. So Goldie, my cousin, got me a house sitting gig. For a hot minute, I had some breathing space.
It got worse.
Spent the better part of my time in toxic negotiations. Absurd things like who owns the Ikea bookshelf. Not that I have a place for it now. He got the rent-controlled apartment. But even Big-Bad-Ex admitted the books are mine. Anyway, he doesn’t need a bookshelf. He’s barely literate. Not even housebroken.