Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Rival

My mother got a flying baby. She already had four cats and two dogs. When I came in on Saturday, the baby was tied to a banister, flying up around the ceiling. Mom, you need to keep that ceiling fan off, I said. The baby smelled funny, its diaper was sagging and its skin looked loose. It had orange and yellow hair all over its hands. A baby is a lot of responsibility, Mom, I said. I snapped my fingers at the baby, trying to get it to fly down to me. The baby didn't even look, just kept fluttering its sticky wings and bumping into the walls. It doesn't look right, I said to Mom. I feed it every day, she said, and spray it with water, they said that babies need a lot of water. I asked my mom, Where's its bottle? She said, Somewhere, somewhere. She dug into the pile of soaking dirty dishes in the sink. She was wearing her t-shirt with the embroidered reindeer on motorcycles. Why are you wearing that? I said, it's not even Halloween yet. She fed one of her toy poodles something from the sink. Have you thought of a name yet? she said, I asked you for a name. I heard the baby bump into something in the hall, its wings whirring like a blender. The baby started to make a sound -- something between a toy fire engine and a bark. I think the baby's crying, I said. Oh, he will stop on his own, my mother said, he always does.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Smashed ice in a waxed paper cup.
One translucent pea hen flowing after
another, or an orange shadow

shifting on the baseboard. Orange
my safeword. Orange I said
Orange when we swam. My breath's

unreliable that way. Why is it
he said. I wanted to try
something new. Do you like it?
I said.

Curtains drawn, the day humming
outside like a fire engine on pause.
Orange ya glad to see me? The pea hens

trying to talk. Working on some kind
of clotted harp in their throats. Orange
I said Orange. I buy him a pile of them.

They disappear by the next morning,
leaving a smear on the chair. It's not
something I would normally

say, I tell him. That's why.
Corn syrup, then food coloring, two kinds.