A Guinea Pig Is Dead
In 1985, we had three daughters.
They were 5, 10, and 11.
So life was fun, of course.
Each daughter had a gerbil.
Flopsy, Crumbone and Taylor.
Don’t ask me which is which.
They are rodents.
I broke my leg on a Thursday.
In 5 places, trying to ride a bike to the day care
Center to pick up the 5-year- old because my
Husband had the car, and the police will come
Pick up the 5-year-olds who are left after 6.
This is California, where everything is weird.
My mom who had never flown on a plane,
Flew out wearing wings pinned to her bosom
It’s a wonder I wasn’t already dead.
I was expecting that actually.
By evening she had fought the dogs
For their cooking pans full of water.
These dog-food pans were soon sterilized and
cooking spaghetti. And there was garlic
bread too, hot, piping, out of
an oven or something.
My daughters were astounded.
They thought food came from
Styrofoam with restaurant
Names on it.
On Tuesday Mom was doing the 18,482
Pieces of laundry we had used the week
Before, and she said, “Caren, come over
Here.” I hobbled over on my crutches,
Which was not easy.
“I think a guinea pig is dead,” she whispered.
I poked it with a hoe. It did not move.
I poked it with a broom.
We have to announce this
Delicately, my mother said in
Hushed tones of reverence.
We did not mention it during breakfast.
We did not mention it during lunch.
My mother kept looking at me expectantly.
By supper time after yelling for the three
Girls to come downstairs, and being ignored
I lost it and yelled, “A GUINEA PIG IS DEAD!”
Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.
Wailing and keening began.
“That was subtle,” my mother told me.
Yes, it was.
Copyright © Caren Krutsinger | Year Posted 2018
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