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What we lost

Repeating today a memorable segment from National Public Radio’s excellent StoryCorps project,  aired just ahead of the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination.  The reflections of then 17-year-old busboy Juan Romero, who attempted to comfort RFK seconds after he was shot, are a poignant reminder of what we lost on June 5, 1968: Click […]

In Memoriam

They were names I didn’t recognize, names I’d never heard:  Alice Herz, Norman Morrison, Roger Allen LaPorte,  Florence Beaumont, George Winne, Jr.  Five Americans who, between 1965 and 1970, publicly self-immolated — set themselves fatally afire — to protest the Vietnam War. I am thinking of them on Memorial Day, when we traditionally commemorate Americans who gave their lives in […]

And then what

              Last spring honeybees in great numbers, ahead of blooms, small striped blimps afur with fine hair, cellophane wings abuzz. Hungry, they gathered at saucers of sugar water, all I could offer until the blossoms that loved them no less opened and smiled, enfolded their sweet bee bodies, the […]

Glad to see you

I know him by the one antler, the other lost to wear or injury, an experience I share, like the butterfly’s remaining wing, the dog’s three legs. I will die a crippled thing, no perfection left unblemished, no wholeness intact, no certainty unshaken, a poor creature and hobbled, but in such good company, me with […]

Messier objects

Having found everything I wasn’t looking for, I have forgotten the crucial thing I had to have, too long distracted by the beauty of all I thought superfluous.   Interested in comets and only comets, 18th-century French astronomer Charles Messier doggedly catalogued 103 not-comet celestial objects that frustrated his search, including star clusters and nebulae, […]

Spent hens

My old buff hen sits the nest as if still young, her plump red comb signaling fecundity she no longer possesses, being nine, or decidedly geriatric in woman years, her last viable ovum having gathered yolk and dropped sweetly into her infundibulum long ago, no fanfare, quietly adding albumen, spinning slowly down the tunnel of […]

White elephant

I Having outlived our reciprocal usefulness, we mull the stubborn residue of the situation: the nostalgia of remembering, the impunity of forgetting, how the past may persuade the present, but not indefinitely; how time makes plain what romance adorns. The gifts we cherished have become white elephants; gold spun patiently into straw. II Choosing honesty, […]

I add to my list of questions for God (2)

Whether I can be something different next time: Male. Straight. Dark-skinned. Not American. An ocelot. Whether I was stupidly happy all along, but felt too smart to admit it. Why all guns aren’t toys. Why all children don’t have ponies. How You made the color of Liz Taylor’s eyes. How You made purring. (Whether the […]

A better telling of a better story

Squirrels snort spring though estral arteries, leaping the lengthening days, tails backlit by sun. Shall I care more for the latest manmade drama than their tussled play, their animal exuberance, the heated unions that will bring forth kits — naked, blind, burgeoning, beautiful — a better telling of a better story? Shall I bemoan my […]

My cat in heaven

Not apprehending time, my old cat says she will live forever. I tell her that in the last years — — of forever, which she does not apprehend — she will need other humans, that I will have gone ahead to answer to God, right after I plug in the heated bed, prepare her favorite […]