Body and Mind
I imagine Warren and Adrianne as little archaeologists, trying to unearth the bones of their father’s life, holding up shoes and hats they’ve disinterred, old letters, a college ring inside a carved wooden box from Afghanistan.
Once there were two hogs and a sow who lived in a sturdy pen outside an old man’s hut. Then the old man died. That morning, no one brought food to the pen; the next morning, no one brought food to the pen. By evening the animals were panicked and ravenous, the bottom of the trough licked smooth as tile.
That night the parents tell their children they can stay up until nine, an hour past bedtime, but no more. It is a school night, after all, and the children must get up at six tomorrow morning. But this is no ordinary Tuesday night, the parents know, and the children have been begging to stay up later.
How could so much intelligence and substance so quickly become lost? A powerful presence was gone from our lives. I carefully laid her head back down on the cool earth beside a big bouquet of dandelion flowers that Leslye must have left earlier in the day. Dandelions were always Anne’s favorite.
The Portrait Stanley Kunitz My mother never forgave my father for killing himself…
My mother is a wood thrush, and my father is a great snipe. They aren’t my parents in this utopia. They’re birds who met once, then drifted apart, as birds do, so they could lead their own lives and become who they were meant to be. They have no children, bird or otherwise, tugging them in a different, boring direction.
For the fourth time my mother asks, “How many children do you have?” I’m be…