storytime again


the fires keep burning. the smoke is thick. we haven’t seen the mountains for some time. the bush is closed. today we had wind from the south and then it turned and came from the north. the smoke has cleared somewhat. it was the north wind that did it. a few rain drops as well. the first since the end of june. i felt like aiming my face directly at them.

jody had to go to the hospital this morning. chest pains. they ruled out problems with her heart. her lungs are congested with smoke. the doctor said it has been a common occurrence this season.

it’s been a summer of red suns, sun up and sun down. with the moon red all night long.

the doctor who saw jody was young. she looked tired too. i read the charts on the wall. don’t give men on viagra nitrates. don’t give cocaine users beta blockers.

jody is better now, after a mask of ventolin. she has asthma and now must take her inhaler every four hours. she is back to working too hard. drying tomatoes, worrying, trying to get it all done. if only i could instil some of my laziness in her.

hospitals are awful places. impersonal. they have to be. that’s how they save us.

the bush is closed. the trees and creeks cut off. the backroads barricaded. where am i supposed to go? what am i to do with this lump of anger?

tomorrow is a young teachers funeral. i am going to try and go. cancer took her. she was nice to me when i was mostly invisible sweeping floors and emptying garbage. she kept small magnetic words on the blackboard. i’d arrange them into poems and jokes. the kids would always add to them. i’d add more the next day. those words and what they said always made me smile.

she smiled too, laughing as well, talking gardening or stars or whatever she was teaching.

the last time we saw each other we hugged and talked about the school yard.

jody looked beautiful putting on her gown. her breasts and bare back without conscience. my eyes still stuck even now after all. she turned and asked me to tie her up. i tied the blue ribbons in a bow, while her chest laboured.

it is days like this when smoke looks like a snowstorm. when the sky is low. when i can’t figure if it’s hot or cold. when the best is to hunker down and wait it out. maybe pour a drink. splash the whiskey with scant rain.

instead i can’t keep still. there is a snake crawling towards me. the sun is coming through the bullet holes and it doesn’t look promising.

keep calm the voice says. but anger’s never failed me.

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