Friday Poem

I picked up two chairs in a free pile along a backroad yesterday.

No! my daughters said.

In the evening, playing Yahtzee, our cat Acer begins to gnaw on the chair’s loose strands, which makes the girls laugh hysterically.

Something for everyone in the free pile. That’s where we are in the pandemic world.

I pull out the gray hairs,

And under my pillow,

There is a cricket.

— Basho

Female Rage & FB

In the midst of an argument with my oldest daughter, I glance down at the subtitle of the book I’m reading: Female Rage and My Passage into Motherhood.

If I wasn’t so angry, I’d laugh.

Motherhood. Odd how all how reading all that Plato as an undergraduate works into parenting…. The unexamined life is not worth living.

Stop pretending, I insist — I crab at her, really — could you please stop pretending anyone on the planet has a Facebook life? That living includes love of sizzling bacon and three-layer chocolate cake and cappuccino, of merry friends, of loving your cat who licks butter from your fingers? But our bones also hold the sorrow of loss, and rage at the universe.

Our evening ends with Yahtzee, broken bits of dark chocolate, laughter.

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Playing

When I was in college, one of the houses I cleaned was for an older woman who usually had me set up a square table for mahjong. Three of her also-elderly friends arrived around that time — one hobbling in with a walker — and they were always so darn excited about this game. I laid out a wooden box of tiles, coasters, a cut glass bowl of cashews while one of the husbands made drinks.

My 12-year-old, lover of games and puzzles, studies instructions with our tiles, piecing together patterns, possibilities, in what can only be described as our unique version of play. Need four players? We’ve bastardized that, too, and make do with the two of us.

Across the table, the bridge of her nose sparkly gold from a friend’s shared paint, her eyes glow mischievously.

Do the best that you can in the place where you are, and be kind.

— Scott Nearing

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