Ginger is on top of a stuffed rabbit with a squeaker, looks like she’s sodomizing it. The rabbit has a cartoon eye, looks nonplussed. Ginger thrashes it to break the neck, sniffs its underside, walks off distracted, comes back.
I slowed time down to half-speed by getting up early, walking, idling: played a board game with Lily on the couch and balanced the board on our laps, had to hold on as the pieces and the cards tried to slide off. It made me nervous, but I got through.
Someone called because she found our cat and I asked, is she bothering you? She said no…so I said, let her go. We’re probably irresponsible, out here in the suburbs: she said she never sees cats just roaming around here, like that. Go fuck yourself, I wanted to say. But she had our number, and our cat.
I opened a beer at 2, put the Cocteau Twins on. It’s been sunny, but there’s a thin layer of clouds now like muscle tissue pulled across the sky, making everything milky-pale. It’s a stark time, a time for poetry: the trees gone gray and bone-like with holes for eyes, everything living is hanging on, laying low, holding out.
The cats bring back shrews and I pick them up by the tail and toss them in the trash, so the dogs won’t eat them.
Dawn and I dig through our storage area to make a pathway for the Christmas stuff. We find a box with love letters her dad sent to her mom, which we have for some reason, and it makes Dawn cry. That’s the thing about digging through your stuff, you find things you forgot, things that make you cry.
Ginger bares her teeth and shows the whites in her eyes. Minnie is a Boston Terrier who’s had seizures and now most of her brain is gone. She fights to the death; they make each other bleed and bite at the neck.
Minnie has a skin condition that makes her hair fall out, so she’s always cold and nervous, like an old man with black marbles for eyes, falling out of the sockets, shaking. Her eyes search mine for compassion and warmth, but find no results.
The trees catch fire this time of day, by the angle of the sun sneaking through. I make kindling with the hatchet and if anyone watched, they’d say I shouldn’t do it that way; I take too many chances, I cut it too close.
The sky goes down from blue to orange, to white, like a flame on the range about to go out, makes that sucking sound before it goes out…like time going backwards, up the chute.
Night falls hard like a drunk, earlier than you’d think, the same as last night.
The animals bed down, and the kids go quiet. The wood stove is a constant hush, and the fan blows warmth over us.
The stars are coming out and the night is cold and tightening up. It’s hard to say goodbye when we don’t know what to say, and so we smile and leave the room, close the door, return to our lives, separate ourselves.
I text a friend and might walk to his house but have to wait for him to put his kids down and I don’t know if I’ll be up for walking by then. I’ve taken to recording my life when I should be living it, instead. You can’t do both, really. The recording’s not as good.