Saturday, April 15, 2006

Love One Another Constantly

It's Good Friday, a day of regret and sadness, the darkest day before dawn. Years ago, I received a fifty gallon fish tank, a rectangular-shaped monstrosity that I placed on a huge bookcase. The people who gave it to me were in the middle of a divorce and neither one wanted it anymore or maybe they just couldn't bear the thought of the other one having it. Love hadn't exactly been my best friend either, so I understood. I was graduate student poor at the time and couldn't afford to put fish in it (besides, everything I touch tends towards, well, death) so I filled it with water to create a beautiful seascape. I can remember running from the kitchen to the bedroom with a large pot (my one proverbial pot to piss in -- I had three actual windows to throw it out of) and after many many trips, the entire thing was full. What next, I thought? I wanted to put something pretty in it, like rocks, but pretty rocks were costly, especially for something so big. So I bought a huge bag of sand (thinking of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico) and dumped it into the tank, thinking the sand would settle in a few hours. Three months later, I had fifty gallons of muddy water in my bedroom. As I was dumping the water back into the sink with the help of the same pot, I thought -- all mistakes should be so obvious.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"All our strength lies in the power of prayer and sacrifice." St. Theresa of the Little Flower

The 13th Station of the Cross
The drink you need the most at this moment

Benedictions and Maledictions

First published in St. Ann's Review:

Love One Another Constantly

Upon entering my grandparents’ trailer, my
grandfather would take me to the master
bedroom and say, This is granddaddy’s
pistol. It can kill you. Don’t touch it. He’d
slide it back under the pillow, satisfied
that he’d made his point. No one had to say
anything twice around there. In the midst
of their everyday staples -- karo syrup, Jack
Daniels, empty cans of Old Milwaukee --
stood a small statue of St. Francis, a relic
from my grandmother’s ancient childhood --
Love One Another Constantly -- burned
into the base. Since I couldn’t touch the gun,
I’d run my finger over the words in the dark
like a blind person, thinking what if this sense
was all I had left to me in the world, not realizing
that it was, that it would be, the words carved
into wood still as clear as my grandfather’s
warning, long after the grave had taken him.

1 comment:

John said...

Dear Michelle,

Happy Good Friday to you and yours.
Beautiful post, as always.