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Strengthening by Removal

April 2, 2009 by · No comments

Ann Lederer

Photo: brokinhrt2
They said all the BLOOD in his BODY had been drained and replaced. They didn’t get into the technicalities. When they finally brought him HOME—a yellowish, waxy BUNDLE tucked into the legged BASKET in the dining room—he was too quiet. We were not allowed to get too close. We were grimy, unpredictable, and dangerous.

We caught a peek at his tiny HEEL, dotted with too many PINPRICKS to count. NEEDLE HOLES. Maybe that’s where the BLOOD had been drained. When he learned to crawl, we were secretly glad that our ill tempered elderly DOG bit his CHEEK when he invaded its LAIR behind the couch. He was too spoiled, the only BOY after a disappointing string of GIRLS, who would have borne his name. He was getting away with too much, just for having been sick.

What at first seemed to be SNOW, was only a coating of hard white FROST on the still green GRASS. When the indoor light SWITCH was popped by mistake, fierce orange SPARKS jabbed down from the ceiling fan’s empty SOCKET. In the dark center of the zooming CAR, a laser blue glow from the cell phone’s tiny SCREEN, as the wide MOON tagged behind. Becoming invisible in increments. A dance of a HAND advancing.

Stubs of bitter BERRIES scattered beneath the frosted holly BUSH. Something—but what—had been eating it bare. The purple SPIDERWORT, once in its POD, rescued before the FROST, set inside in a glass of lukewarm WATER, bloomed: a pathetic REMNANT, a wan anomaly Someone else’s CATS lurked under the deck, BILLYGOATS gruff awakened, leaped out at all hours from stomping on the FLOORBOARDS.

As though in a race, SEEDS topped with white FLUFF hopped between the lengths of the warped faded wood. Then suddenly stopped. They stalked one another. Their white ANTENNAE were HAIR, were LEGS. A slight shift in BREEZE toppled them sideways. The SKY is terrifying in its transience. What pretenses we devise to cover the implications of all this parting: the losses of TREES, from LEAVES fleeing.

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