Bio Note: I lost December to complications from knee replacement. I’m glad to be back home and healing again. Wishing everyone a kinder 2021.
Ask me not what big family life is like, Ask me why my big family won't leave me. I was first of nine, no choice in the matter, I took what life gave me: four brothers, four sisters. Those siblings were hooks with barbs, Crying baby racket and commotion entangled me. They broke the dishes, wore the rug to threads, Pounded the floor dropping dust into dad's dark room. Is it any wonder our parents fled the mayhem? I helped, Belting the song, “I’m just a girl who can’t say no.” No one has nine mistakes for children, Yet Dad claimed that honor and blamed Mom. My brothers and sisters, we swam together, Took care of each other in our deep pool. The oldest, I was first to brave the currents, College sheltered me but I ducked back home for visits. One by one, others left behind childhood, Valiant climbers of stream ladders in their way. No promise that upstream would be any better, We cheered each other on from wherever we were. Our connection formed a strong bond that binds us, My siblings flow in me like Patricia’s Creek where we played All hoppy frogs, a box turtle scratching in the bathtub, All thimbleberry scratches, on the lookout for poison ivy. Water runs over rocks, under broken ice, Nine trout on one line, a bucket full of us.
See this helicopter seed? Shaped like a pinion feather, it’s a veined brown wing built to fly. Brittle, shriveled and dry. A smashed jug. A ruined life. A jagged crack runs to the spine. This is a split maple seed. It will never sprout or grow. Many babies don’t make it. K & E were lost. D pruned by stroke. N broken at birth, was defeated in his 20s. Another took his own life. In a world of thinning, felled forests, few receive the gift of life. I cup one of my mother’s lost seeds. Mother maple, you birthed flower babies. You carried our soft green cluster weight, nursed us draped in your arms. Until you dropped us on the wind. A few take root and mature. Some cast seeds, new saplings grow. Young trees endure sun and storm, lift on feather joys, sink in rock sorrows. In one lifespan, my progeny see seas poisoned, forests burned, half the world’s species extinguished. Yet they thrill to the incredible blue of earth. Cherish the fading company of monarchs, laughing seagulls, croaking frogs, howling wolves and bats cruising night on sound waves. Some persist in wind rain and heat. Weather more Century storms in a year than the names allotted in the alphabet. Watch new cosmic names added. More storms keep blowing. COVID pummels humans. Drought, wildfire, and violence rage. The survivors endure. A couple find gratitude, mother hope, produce late life children. Offspring skip one generation. They stop at three. A small number, great odds. May they grow in the joy of blue and green life.
Knife Edge Bliss
My high blood pressure goes wanky during presidential election week. I phone the doc, she doubles my prescription dosage. I await election results.
After two degrees, working part-time and two temp positions, D announces, “My new job is permanent.”
Dad grabs at his heart and says, "I don't have long to live.” He's 30.
V glows and says, “My little baby, she’s perfect.”
Nana reports on Granddaddy's bedsores, "I keep turning him.Today’s a good day.”
A fourth sibling announces, “I’m engaged.” We celebrate four weddings that year.
The call Grandma makes to Dad after our picnic: “Pop asked for a cuppa tea. When I got back, he was already dead.”
Y gazes in wonder at her first child, "I didn't know I could love her this much.”
Our modest father thrashes his nakedness in a hospital gown. He pleads to his wife, “Becky, get me away from these killers, take me out of here.” Next he says, “Let’s go for a drive and get ice cream.”
Mom introduces her new husband to the family. She gushes,“We’re in love. C is a wonderful man.”
My brother, K collapses on the floor, his niece E sees and shouts, “Help. Uncle K.”
Twilight. In slow motion. Floating on a pink ripple of glaze. Peace
©2021 Ingrid Bruck
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