Domestic Chaos, Evening Pleasure

We’re eating pumpkin pie made with not enough maple syrup. In the scheme of things, that’s pretty darn minor. The kids, I’ve noticed, have stored the maple syrup in the cabinet above my head — which, no biggie, I could easily stand on a chair per usual and help myself. Nonetheless, why bother?

The bathtub drained is plugged, the chickens wandered on the back porch and shit, we’ve eaten brown rice for three days now and no one seems in the least interested in leftovers. It’s autumn, sometime, pretty leaves all fallen and withering.

Dusk, I walk a few loops around the high school. A flock of starlings sweeps over the sky and perches in the bare branches of a maple tree, chittering. Back at my car, my daughter and her friend are on the hood of my car, laughing at something — maybe me? — hungry. They’ve been making “guts” for a Halloween project, but ran out of red food dye to mix with their Vaseline and corn starch.

Really? I say. What’s the recipe? In the thickening gloaming, I sit on my car hood, too, listening, as if there’s all the time in the world.

…we are everything, every experience we’ve ever had, and in some of us, a lot of it translates and makes patterns, poems. But, my God, we don’t even began to touch upon it. There’s an enormous amount, but we can touch such a little.

— Ruth Stone

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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