1000 feet up and I cannot see Canada as Superior stretches her waves across the horizon. Kirtland warblers call as I hang my hammock between Jack pines. Three hammocks, one of cloth, sharing four trunks. I’m swinging over a cliff, over the part of Michigan forgotten, the part some leave off of maps and even at its very edge. Here you can sip from a flask, drink rain water from basins in the stone. Here you can eat wild blueberries, can sleep overnight off the ground and away from prying eyes. Here, you can be what people were meant to be.
Category Archives: Short Non-Fiction
It’s your glass tint, translucent brown, that turns me on. The way you condensate, soak oak with a staining circle. How you froth, how you know your way from neck to throat. Your IPA, your amber ale, dark, blonde, it doesn’t matter. You’re an A+. AA, I’ll never attend. Your clear UV coating, green glass, guarding you from the sun. The warmth in my sternum, the jello of my legs. The extra layer on my hips that won’t shrink or grow. The way you keep coming back, claim coins from my pocket, pennies from my purse. The way you, 12 oz, feel like 200 lbs of flesh wrapped around my body, tingling my tongue and pursing my lips.
There’s a man on my block who I’ve seen frequently for three years. “Do I know you?” I tell him we’ve met before. He switches a bag of cans to his left hand hand, holds the other out to shake. It always goes like this:
“My friend has a golden retriever puppy. I live down that way. The kids call me retarded. That’s not nice, is it?”
I’ll chat with him a while. Sometimes he hugs me. Often he repeats his story. One, I ask how big the puppy is. He motions, the size of a full dog.
They call me retarded. That’s not nice, is it?
I always shake my head and grab his hand. I never know what to say.
Watching a movie,
The stuffed dog I had when I was six,
Now covered in mascara.
In Ohio my dad drives down a dirt road through the corn field, his headlights off just after dusk, and we watch the swarms of fireflies stream past like lightning over husks. Above them the stars form a river, the edge of the Milkyway looking in. Everything is flat and round here. Please keep the headlights off. The fields will be plowed. The fireflies are dying. Just see them blink.
Here, in the UP, there are few fields. Five years in, I’ve yet to see a firefly. I start to miss Ohio.
I’m on the 38th floor, looking out for the first time at mountain teeth scraping where fog blends with sky. There are people with doctoral degrees behind me, drinking Merlot or Moscato. A colorful chandelier of blown glass lights their irises, their polished shoes. Four months and thousands of miles away, all I can think is that this is what you must’ve seen before you jumped.
A few companions to my piece “The Martyrs” on rats and anthropocentrism.
“I told my mother, maybe twice, about the the Karni Mata temple in India, where people worship over 20,000 black rats, revering after traveling long distances to share food with our tiny relatives. The Hindi people who come here believe the rats came about in different manners, yet they all agree on one ting. The rats are humans reincarnated. People share milk with them, are honored to bite food nibbled by hungry teeth, grazed by long whiskers. If a rat is killed, it must be replaced with one of solid silver. Here, they have worth.”