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Making Memories

For weeks the list floats in my head

But it's fuzzy and not easily read

The checkmarks won't stick

The clock does its tick

And that book, was it one he just read?

 

Do they have the same number of things?

Accidental sib gift-slighting stings

A ball of lights haunts me

It isn't the best tree

The manger is missing a king!

 

Oh cookies, please please bake yourself

This Santa's feeling more like an elf

Here, you wear the hat

And the pillow for fat

The suit with the fake ermine pelt

 

A deep breath and now i feel better

A movie, a beer and a sweater

The day it will come

What's done is what's done

This giver's done being a fretter

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: : : A man : : : A dog : : : And What These Taught Me Of My World

When we brought Dorian home for the first night, I had trouble deciphering who was more frightened in our group, him or Maura or me. Motherhood is not something to take lightly, and responsibility hung thick in the apartment, having now been prepped and readied for our new Dachshund puppy. And there was no way of predicting that this little lopsided walking dog log would be such a catalyst for the monumental change coming, and the inevitable damage that followed.

After peeing everywhere but his designated training pad, Dorian slept smoothly the first night through, nestled softly between Maura’s inner thighs, bleating. I think Maura cried a little too.

For the next two weeks, Dorian was a phantom in the house. I would search under tables and chairs and couch cushions with little success. And when he was finally found, like a bird from an open cage, he would bolt away into the bedroom closet, hopping up one shelving tier, laying shaking, scared, and immobile atop Maura’s sweater pile. “What a pathetic mess.” I would stand there, hands to hips, watching this tiny Dachshund make a god damned fool of himself, probably as well, pissing on my favorite hoodie.

Eventually, we became buddies. I would steal his pink rubber toy, vaguely moist with odorless saliva, and we’d chase each other about the house. Dropping to the floor I could hide my head in my knees and he would bury the sharp edge of his nose into the flank my thigh, searching for a face to commence licking, like he would some instinctual badger meant to be snoop out of some hole. I loved him. His little body, his little quirks. In the morning he could be found at my feet on the shower floor, soaking wet and shaking, but just wanting to be near me. ”It’s alright buddy,” I would tell him, and I would mean it completely. I have, in my life, been on the shower floor in such a way over people too.

Maura never took my last name after the marriage. I still do not know why. Like little foreboding clues of our future I guess, fate is a juggernaut when it runs, and in marriage it is always running towards you, instead of away. When we fought, she took to slinging her wedding ring at me from across the hardwood room, screaming. I once had wine thrown in my face. Frightening fights from frightening people, that is, the type of people we became around one another. She would drink to yell at me; I would drink to not listen. The juggernaut grew near. Sometimes she would say, “When I leave you, I’m taking the dog, just so you’re not surprised when I do. He’s mine, ya know.” The words would roll from her mouth so casually, as if, packed up in moving boxes within herself, there she already lay, along side her heart and her possessions, so far away from my needs.

I do not have a child, but there in Dorian I started to understand the love of small things that are able to love you back. Dorian was strong, and independent, never requiring the leash. But in him there was tenderness too, a codependency I recognized within myself. A need of touch, of love’s daily bread- the promise of I Do, without the anxiety of it. And as Maura and I drifted, we both saught solice in this little Dachshund, who’s simplicity and child like love could never imagine dividing himself in half over us, as Maura and I ourselves did. 

I miss Dorian. I miss having a dog. Simply that. I miss having that routine example of what love might be like without fear, without greed, without even a scrap of remorse. A love willing to go dripping wet and sopping into whatever world as long as it keeps them near. 

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Brother

It's been two years since I've seen
your beautiful faces
So many birthdays passed,
so many milestones reached,
brother, I heard you brought
your first child into the world,
and brother, I hear she's
beautiful- the spitting image
of her mother.
You're the only person who
understands why I 
ran out the door that Christmas
and never came home, but brother,
I need you to promise me you'll
remind our sisters of all
the love we shared before things
went wrong.
I can no longer live knowing
they blame me for leaving
them behind.
I should have stayed to protect them,
I know that now, 
but brother, we both know it's far too late.
I hope someday they grow up
and realize that it was a decision I had
to make,
I hope they see that I have spent
everyday since dreaming of the day
when I can finally see them once again
and save them from the abuse I left
between the walls of
our small suburban home
And brother, I need you to promise me one thing.
Promise you won't let them forget me.
Please, don't let them forget me.
I need them, brother. 
I'll never let go.

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TWILIGHT SONGS

 

 

Once upon a time

You were like a butterfly

Here and there and everywhere

Now you are stuck in a wheelchair

 

Once you sighed day in day out

“Why must I live so long?”

Now you’re blissfully content

You don’t remember

What you’ve ever said

 

You live in a foreign land

Like most in the dining room today

The piano plays soft melodies

Of bygone years, I feel my eyes

Well up with tears

 

Tears keep rolling

Down my cheeks

As I watch you sitting

Motionless, expressionless

I turn away my face:

 

A young nurse’s belly carries

A new life, a new beginning

Amidst the very ending

My tears keep rolling

Down to my trembling lips

 

The nurse keeps smiling

Her words are sweet

“Come on love, up you go

One two three, well done

Hang on to your walker, dear”

The old soul, half her size

Slowly shuffles on

 

I shed one more tear

My wet eyes I wipe…

The piano played

Their songs and mine

Once upon a time

 

 

 © irina dimitric  2013.

 

 

 

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we are the ghosts of our cold home / i have never felt like my own person

She tells me that as a baby, I stood in my crib and peeped over the top of the bars, silent and patient, waiting for sight of an open eye before belting my first wail of the morning. I was thoughtful, I was considerate, I was the infant who wanted my first word, no matter how incoherent, to mean something, none of this screaming into the open air with violent intentions and no grasp of control; I was all about control, and I stood there, as a baby, for who knows how long. I stood there:

 

“mother may I”

 

and grew up to be the disappointing daughter, the prodigal firstborn who failed to fulfill the prophecy, I was no chosen one, I was nothing but a pile of potential under a cocoon of brown skin and myopic eyes

 

“mother may I”

 

I didn’t know you could cross the street diagonally in boston until I was standing at the edge of the sidewalk,  my life not quite at a crossroads, and the pedestrians going horizontal had the okay and the pedestrians going vertical had the okay and was there ever a wrong way to walk? no one walks in ninety degrees because the fastest way anywhere is a straight line but I am all about these detours, these delays, these sorry-not-sorry inconveniences, these procrastinations, these never-have-I-evers

 

“mother may I”

 

just like I didn’t know that if you skipped enough meals your body would give up on you, on the thought, like two disappointed parents finding out you’re not going to graduate on time, and then even the smell of food is nauseating, and you realize you have the power to eat or not to eat, you are all about control, I am holding the remote control and changing channels

 

“mother may I”

 

to a show that everyone says my family should have, where are you going with all those teeth in your mouth, all that sorrow in your palms, how many hearts are you going to break with eyes like that, please stop looking at me, looking at me, look how much of me is waiting to be branded like a slave in the old days, all this brown skin, all this war, all this depression

 

“helium helium helium helium helium helium helium”

 

I still don’t know what happens to balloons that little kids lose hold of, as I so often did. I mean, I do—they pop at a certain point in the atmosphere, don’t they? the broken rubber floats down to reality, thanks to gravity, I guesss, and here we are

 

but I want to go up and up and up and no one wants to hear me talk about dying but I want to talk about it and I want to be detailed because when I am alone I plan the moment, like how there will be this beautiful song in the background on repeat and I will lay on the ground until my breath gets shallow, and no longer will I have to ask for permission

 

“mother may I”

 

she will never say yes. (will she ever, will she ever) she will never
say yes. 

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microfictions - #2

"Alex, who's Jonathan?"

"Jonathan? He's my friend, mum." 

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microfictions - #1

"why, why Kevin?"

"because... because she wants me to marry, Lionel". 

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The Girl without a Voice

"Wake up, Nohemi!"

"Wake up, the sun has already gone to the farm and you are still drowning in your dreams, how am I supposed to feed you when you won't work?"

"Nohemi, you had better wake up before I call your ancestors! Nohemi! Nohemi!"

Her eyes looked at the sun cursing her for reaching the farm early. How could she ever compete with the sun when she came and went as she pleased? The woman called out her name and Nohemi walked out of the room. It was 7:00am.

Her brother had already gone to school. Her Uncle had gone to work. He had taken his bicycle and umbrella and tucked his trousers in his grey socks before riding off. Nohemi looked at the woman and smiled. "Good morning Auntie, how did you sleep?"

"What is so good about the morning Nohemi? Uh? Tell me, do you see other girls in their houses right now? Nohemi, a woman works from dawn to dusk, we have backs that do not break and hearts that do not relent! And you, what do you have? Tell me, who will want to marry a lazy girl who buries her head in books? A girl who reads but cannot go to the farm before sunrise? Is that what is so good about this morning?"

"I am going to the farm Auntie."

"You say you are going but I do not see those feet moving!"

"Yes Auntie, forgive me."

"Do I look like the forgiver of sins?"

Nohemi walked to the door. Her Auntie let out a sigh before saying, "you had better come back before noon with some maize cobs."

She looked at the sun then turned her eyes to the two people on her left. She wondered how it was so easy for the earth to swallow up people but not the signs that read "born.... died...."

Her Mother, Nohima, never yelled. She often told her that there were beautiful worlds in books and if she could be read, listen, love and learn from them then she would be a strong woman. She put one foot in front of the other and headed to the farm.

 

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Sharing Needles

my father said they had been his fathers. His father found them in a secondhand shop, and thought it would be funny to buy them. He loved music, and had a very specific brand that he bought religiously (early batch Shure Hi-Fi), but he thought it would be ironic to have a box of crappy needles. And here I thought hipsters were a recent innovation. Before he left it to be forgotten in the dust and trinkets of the mantle, he used one. Just once. The first time he and grandma danced. The sound was so beautiful, the timbre so perfect, so warm, so inviting, that he took the needle out as soon as the song was over, put it back in the box, and locked it away, swearing that these needed to be saved only for the most important of occasions. The box hadn’t been opened again when it had been past down to my father, and grandfather made him swear he would only use them when absolutely necessary. My father gave them to me when I graduated college. He had never even opened the box. records were already something for special occasions in his mind, and the legend of these needles had been what he grew up with. He had never found a day that it was worth using them, not the day he got married, not the day his son was born, and not the day his wife died. I held them in my hands as my daughter cried in the next room. I hadn’t slept in three days.

      I set up the turntable on the floor of her bedroom as she sobbed at me through the bars of her crib, smashing her rattle against them like an infantile felon. I grabbed a record at random from my grandfathers collection and dropped the needle. it cut a thick groove through the old vinyl, nearly through to the other side. The speakers gave nothing but a heavy roar, like waterfalls around the next turn of a backwoods path. Both of us in that room were asleep before I could laugh.

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Above all, you taught me self-pity.

With an idea of the truth and the thought
that I could do this, just this, I would say
I would say that
I was never smaller growing
than, when I was with you,
when you told me that if that, there,
was the worst day of my life,
that I was very lucky.
That I was never more chronic than
then
when you told me, there, at the height of my-
that I liked to exaggerate so much
that I believed you.
That I think you know that I thought that
you’d rather have made something else
and that you had.
That I couldn’t else but look,
Because I think you saw what I did, there,
then, when I looked.
That I’m afraid of changing,
in spite of all my books
that I’m afraid of changing, then, now,
into you.
That it hasn’t been that long since I
was surprised to be old, then
and to be something other than tolerated,
other than barely
and with sighing eyes.
That that one open hand was the least,
then, there.
That I try to forget that I’m not old
because you noticed,
that then, there, I was crying and breaking.
I would write,
probably,
because speaking is hard.
That I was never smaller growing
then when I started last time saying
‘I’m glad it’s over with.