Bunnyman, my 12 year old son, just loves school. His teacher starts talking and he mutes the video on his laptop, spreads a quilt on the kitchen floor, lays his head down, closes his eyes to catch up on sleep. His teacher continues teaching. It is a win-win-win because I sit nearby at the kitchen table drinking my morning coffee in the relative quiet taking notes for him thinking. I think about how to bring up his new school words and subject matter for later when he and I run errands and go to the grocery store and post office. Oh, look, I’ll say, to him when we stand in Produce, that lady looks like an archetypical mom buying an archetypical chicken. I wonder how many archetypical apples she needs for her two archetypical children if each child brings home four masked friends for a snack…(dicey work this math and me). Oh, Lord, Let there be a Lord. And if there is a Lord, Lord, speak to me in my love language and send me chocolates, a box of Kleenex and an empty UHaul with two strong masked men (of good humor) to help me clear my conscience for thinking ill of my rich neighbors with swimming pools that they’ve fixed with firehoses to soak their properties with the water (from their built-in sea water pools). Oh Lord, and please make me smarter. Make me not notice news so much and how these same my rich neighbors are so smart and parked large empty UHauls on our street to fill them with their house stuff in case there’s a fire evacuation order that comes down. Oh, Lord, I’ve done what I can, kept my kids safe (and extra calm) this week (extra credit please because we’ve even kind of gone to online school!). My Fortuny lamps in the living room will go the fastest. (Gold leaf on hand painted silk is like this). The oil paintings I painted over the last forty years will only feed a fire. The George Smith chairs and sofa in the old barn will be an amuse bouche for the fire (one for breakfast), my husband’s Spratling jug will be a silver cheesemelt. My young son’s teacher keeps on talking as he naps on, What’s the integer here? The teacher asks his class. I write the word integer down in my journal to work it into a conversation for later with my son and I will buy stamps at the post office. I’m stuck on the word integer now like how I’m stuck on all the extracurricular suffering these last months, kids in cages, BLM…hate worship, now come on! In the so-called richest country in the world? How does one measure riches, Lord? How can we pull together as a world? How to make people feel like they belong? Where is the deepest place, Lord? Is it our hearts? Maybe go ask Your father, God, Lord? Go ask Him/Her/They how we solve for basic decency and goodness? While your there, please ask Him how to solve for why?

Ant Season

California.  We have four seasons.  Mud, fire, moths, and ants. Moths gone.  Summer must be over. 

Without even opening my eyes I know what’s next.  Ant season.  Opening my eyes confirms this suspicion. 

A fuzzed black line pulses along my kitchen wall, up past where I can reach, through the bath linen cupboard, inside the shower rail, in the wall, under the lineoleum, where they think I cannot get them.  But I do.  To this, I am committed.  I will get every last one.  At first just by pressure, squeeze their bodies to the counter, one by one, black on white, dance on their tiny heads. 

Bloodless, silent. 

Day three I take out whole clans, stand at the sink, contemplate the exact shade of quiet (it is deep green), wait for the water to boil for my morning coffee, eggplant to finish baking, the sun going down.  Wipe the roving poppy seed crumbs to the floor.  Break down, go find the old can of Raid in the basement on a high up shelf, spray the threshold, the garden wall, a powder fresh scent where the underbelly smack of oak should be. 

A new yellow crisp cornered sponge in my hand, when I know I should make the effort to reach for the faded cleaning one.  I smear the lot of them off the backsplash, clear.

They do not care. 

In fact, will send more, they are going to win.  Already have.  I try to care they are so ingenious, ancient, committed creatures, figure a way to carry their injured members to some fort I wish I could find. 

We are playing army.  Theirs, mine. 

This morning’s Cheerios, not personal.  Tonight’s chocolate bar.  Personal. 

Chicken bones near last night’s trash, they can have.  If only they clean up after themselves, take the whole thing, enough there to last them into the next millennium…

Next season, mud.

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