Bittersweet

I was in NewOrleans during Tropical Storm Barry, pressing my little nose against shuttered shops and restaurants all weekend when the prompt “bittersweet” popped into my mailbox. I noodled with ideas and images of being stuck inside a storm and outside taped and sandbagged stores. Nothing worked. Then this morning, I learned a dear friend’s mom is crossing over and this poem came…

BITTERSWEET

When you call hospice for me
When the care becomes less urgent
When we are waiting instead of hoping
Pull up a chair
Lots of chairs
Bring the loved ones round
All of them
And talk, let the words drift over me
Let them settle on my hair
And in my nose
Offer me a sip of ginger ale
Every now and again
With chipped ice floating in it
But please keep talking
Don’t leave the room
Not even for chores
Bring the laundry straight from the dryer
Fold it on top of me
And keep talking
I want the sound of your voice to be the last thing I let go of

Lindsey Lane,
July 17, 2019

BestPartBestPartBestPart….

What is the Best Part?
Something unanticipated?
Something discovered?
Something long awaited?

Many years ago, my friend Anjani whispered to a friend that she longed to eat the entire inner seedless core of a watermelon. On her birthday, she woke to find a freshly picked watermelon at the foot of her bed. She cut the melon into four long quarters and then ate the inner core one bite at a time. In a way, she was thrilled to have accomplished her longing. She never wanted to do it again but every time she ate the tiny seedless triangles from a slice, she remembered the gorging event and told the story. I always wondered which was the best part: the little bits that create the longing or the goal achieved?

On this Tuesday night, July 9, at 8pm at Home Slice Pizza on South Congress Avenue, Austin Bat Cave is hosting its monthly storytelling event. The theme is The Best Part. Entrance is $10. I will tell a story and emcee the event. Gulp.

RIP KIKI

KIKI

It’s hard to Rest In Peace about your seventeen-year-old cat going missing one night. It’s hard not to bury a body. It’s hard not to know for sure they are dead.

Of course, the other side of it is hard: Watching them decline and agonizing over when or if is time to help them.

Either way, you feel like a crappy guardian of your beloved creatures. If I decide to help them die, I feel like I gave up. If I lose them, I feel irresponsible.

Here are the facts. Kiki came to us at one day old. We bottle-fed him. From the very beginning, he loved to be outdoors. (My cats have always had a designated window to go in and out.) And from the very beginning, he loved hunting. He brought me more birds, lizards, squirrels, mice and rats than any other other cat I’ve known. It was his jam.

In the winter, he would spend all his time indoors curled up in a warm place. Come spring, the birds screeched and the squirrels chattered when he reappeared. In the summer, he loved staying out all night.  I’d find him in the morning, on the screened porch sleeping off his stalking and ready for breakfast. Canned salmon, please.

Yes, he was slowing down. Yes, he seemed to have a little dementia. But he was still healthy. And he still loved to spend the night outside.

When I came home from the prison last Thursday night, he’d been indoors all day. I opened the porch door and he slipped out. That was the last I saw him. He didn’t come home for breakfast or dinner or breakfast or dinner…

I think a larger critter got him. I’ve seen a fox running across my yard. People have said they have seen coyotes. There was a report of a bobcat on the neighborhood listserv, but I seriously doubt it. Kiki did not hunt beyond the perimeter of our yard. He was wary of cars. No, I think a bigger animal came into our yard made him his prey. I like to think he wasn’t afraid. I like to think he knew what was happening when the claws and the teeth were upon him. I like to think he went willingly into the cycle of life, the way so many animals had succumbed to him.

I miss him. The way he’d lick the algae on the outdoor fountain for water. The way he would wake me up when it was time for breakfast. The way he would purr. The way he would claim a seat for weeks on end and then suddenly change it. The way he was a presence in our lives for seventeen years.

My darling Kiki…Rest in Peace.

Storms

Every Friday I receive a prompt to write a poem. This week’s was to write about a storm. After the prompt came in, I went to a dinner where someone said, “She was my sky.” It seemed like a good place to find a storm. (Ten mins or so)

She Was My Sky

I watched her from my crib or
a blanket on the floor or
my highchair perch or
best of all, from her lap.
The closer to her, the warmer I was.
Except when her hazel green eyes turned brown and dull and
her dry heavy sighs meant a storm was rolling in.
Then I scurried and hid in my closet
listening for silence,
waiting for the skies to clear and the wind to move the scuds away
I read every barometric pressure change in her skin
I followed her, the last of her four children,
toddling after my north star,
chanting like a drunken pirate
up, up, up pick me up.
-L2

 

Another Sunday

I think joy is a deep sense of well being.

I lay in bed in bed this morning, feeling the edges of myself under the warm covers. Chickens clucked next door. Sun poured onto the bed. I picked up my phone and the world far away from my bed came to visit. Friends in beautiful places. Writers with exciting news. In seconds, my little world felt very dull and uninspired. And, if I lay there one second longer, my life would be wasted.

Holy crap, what a way to wake up. What a way to spoil a perfectly fine morning. Well-being leaked out of me.

What if we lived each day without comparison?
What if every minute we knew we were good and delightful?
What if we felt the edges of ourselves as the possibility to know another?
And to let them know us?