October Surprise

backlit black candle candlelight
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There’s less light in the morning, more days when you pile on sweaters, two maybe three in lieu of turning up the thermostat. A chill in the air. Literally and figuratively. Bread dough rises slower than in summer. Tempers flare. Violence on the border, in the embassies, in my kitchen where I shout, “Liar, liar, pants on fire,” at the suggestion that we must come together today.

Why today? Why not two years ago? For what? So Lucy can pull the football away again? All of us, Charlie Browns. Decent folk. Taken advantage of once too often. Now go vote.

Leaf Change

red apple sweet fruit
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The trees stay green for a short time after the apples come in. The orchard smells like fall and looks like Christmas. Orbs, ranging the rainbow almost to blue, taste like tart flowing saliva sparks in your mouth. Fruit hangs on gnarly boughs and sometimes ripens to the soft stage because the leaves hide it, the two elements conspiring to stay joined, maybe for dark purposes.

By November, it’s time to end things. Maybe they have an argument. The tree strips naked in the space of less than a month. Bruised yellow apples, good for applesauce, wait for Hanukkah harvest.

Mutual Empathy

 

road walking cute young
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I hold my five year old’s hand and say, “Surprise me.”  Eyes closed, remembering a stubbed toe, my bare feet inch forward expecting Matchbox cars left on the carpet.

Though I can’t see, I can feel the closeness of a hall. Maybe it leads to the playroom where the floor is littered with Legos, Brios, and baby dolls having tea next to stuffed bears. “You can open your eyes, Mama.” The space is neat, the blocks stacked in their chest, the animals lounging on shelves. Picnic’s black button nose glints white. Jaimie holds him tight and says, “We cleaned up.”

Cockney Shrew

stairs travel business work
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“Bright and breezy, ham and cheesy,”1 I says to him. Big fellow he were. Blimey! He were a bit Mum and Dad2. So I steps away. He’s talking with a Gooseberry Puddin’3, a right attractive bird. She’s Toby Tugging4 a suitcase and he’s going all Wayne Rooney5 on her. He says, “Come back and Jabberwok6.” If only he’d see how it looks. Needs a ‘Enry7. A big, fat doobie. Might calm him some. Lor’ luv a duck. Kept i’ ter meself. Bear’s Paw8 ‘e were a cop. Nuff said.

1  Easy

2  Mad

3  Woman

4  Lugging

5  Looney

6  Talk

7  Marijuana (an eighth)

8  I saw

Anticipating the End of a Two Hundred Year Experiment

silhouette of fireman holding hose
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At the moment the latest Supreme Court nominee took the oath of office, Lady Liberty felt a hand grope her under the tattered robes of democracy she wore for the occasion. It was a small hand. A hand practiced at conspiracy, graft and corruption.

In front of the assembled crowd, she began to crumble. Her head fell off. Then her arms. The concrete at the foundations of her feet turned to sand. The audience morphed into animal figures that resembled the twisted cubes of pain and fear in Picasso’s Guernica. When the onlookers appeared in grayscale, America’s destruction was complete.

Anticipation Waiting

traffic light showing stop sign
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Anticipation is a feeling that I have when waiting for the red icon on the street sign to turn green. Across the street, a left turn. Across again. Walk three blocks through ranch style houses, their yards a riot of fall color. Occasionally, they look like our yard, their grass burned out and shriveled from drought. I think of xeriscaping the whole thing or maybe paving it with concrete. When I open the door, I will find you in your scanty robe. I will hold you close. You will fuss over me, feed me scones and tea. Then to bed.

Anticipation Stakes

action athlete competition course
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Anticipation is a feeling I have when the horses are racing, really when anything is close to the finish. Well, not the dishes. Not sweeping or mowing the lawn. Something new. Something unique, even if I’ve done it before. Something where the outcome is unknown. Like the darkening of an eclipse. Or the sudden smile on a baby’s lips after a tantrum. Like flipping an omelet. Even with practice, you never know how it will turn out. Or the end of an argument. The stakes are high there. Sometimes too high to start one. Sometimes too high not to try.