Thursday, October 06, 2011

squiddy transformed

Any question why we nicknamed it Squiddy?
Last Saturday marked one year since Barbara concluded her radiation therapy, so October 1st has become her cancer-free anniversary. I took her "Mammosite" (radiation device we affectionately named "Squiddy") and turned it into a bouquet to mark the occasion.

Some of you may find this gross, I know. Therein lies one difference between us. The technology and materials of medical procedures are endlessly fascinating to me and the fact that it was once inside her body (doing important work, I might add) only makes it more fascinating.

Some people beat weapons into plough shares,
I choose to transform medical devices into nosegays.
Besides, she loved the transformation. Before she even knew that it was Squiddy in disguise, seeing the small vase of her favorite color (purple) flowers brought tears to her eyes.

The fear of losing her remains an undercurrent so powerful that it (uncharacteristically) moves me to suppression. No desire to delve into the murky depth of my soul, no need to analyze and dissect. I don't live my life in constant angst but whenever I think of that time it's as if I'm teetering at the opening of Jonah's whale. I am sure I don't adequately express to her the depth of my relief at her presence. Every day.

Squiddy served us well, and deserves to be decorated.

spilled milk

Spilled Milk

by Willa Schneberg
I can still hear the clink
of the milk bottles he brought home
10:00 in the morning after he made
his deliveries for Bordens.
Thirty-five years, they never
gave him off a Jewish holiday.
The goy he asked to do his shift
on Yom Kippur refused and
the next day he dropped dead.
They called it a Jewish curse.
Then they stepped all over each other
to work for him.

What could I do after his stroke?
I put him in a nursing home.
He knows me, but can't talk anymore.
Fifty years we lived together
he would never weep in front of me.
Now all the time his eyes are tearing,
but there is no more Morris to cry.

Lovemaking wasn't so easy between us
in the early years. We both felt guilty.
We thought we weren't supposed to enjoy
it and I was always worried
about becoming pregnant.
Later on we worried the children would hear.
But after they grew up and moved out
and I couldn't bear anymore
we began to have fun.
It wasn't always before going to sleep either.
Sometimes during breakfast
he would say, Let's go
and roll his eyes up to the bedroom.
Luba, he would say, I'll help you
take out the hairpins
Listen to Garrison Keillor read this lovely poem here.