In the thermosat at the house I grew up in there lay a dead squashed spider..below the ole thermostat was a note..'put another sweater on..mom' . The summer of 2008, I sit on the floor with boxes about and dishes that were stories given to others during their life moments. I look at the stickers my siblings and I have placed upon items we want, if there are two or more the two people will have to sit down and talk about why they want that paticular item whilst the other two view them like jurors in the numberg trial. At this point being the youngest is not the game advantage.
I am alone today, alone. But I saw it, the spider from where I was seated on the ground. That fucking spider is still there...but the note is gone, she has left and took all her notes away. Later on in the day I find myself in the library, her poetry books from college are piled high. Opening the book, seeing the lightly penciled notes on the sides of pages. Running my fingers over them trying to figure out what might she have been like at the tender age of twenty. Alone, out east at a school flled with girls in cashmere sweaters and slang terms she could never understand so unaffected. Twenty one and writing alone in the library, smoking on the way to school and leaving bright red lipstick stains for the nuns to find...But the meaning of the notes, the light penciled notes will be sold later on to a wicked ole lech who stroled in the house, tried to look down my shirt and whistled about it the house not my chest...I sage the living room as soon as he left..I am alone in the house and her poetry books are gone.
I am alone in the house and I run up and down the stairs and slam my old bedroom door that still sticks, I smoke on the porch off the upstairs bathroom, I lay in the dining room with the dead spider in the thermostat. He could have been removed from the thermostat, but he stayed. Why didn't she open it up and get him out of there, was the squashed spider something in correlation with the note, nope she just didn't see it as important and probably thought it was funny. Here in her opulent dining room, there is a dead spider clear in view. At this point he is a fossil. But knowing her, she thought it funny next to her big china hutch. Today, i am alone and it makes me laugh and sob in one full tone like a greecian woman walking to the funeral home whilst the bells toll in the background.
I go to the basement, always spookey. There is an ole refrigerator we use to hide in, yes we were risk takers! There were the tennis raquets, ice skates and the smell the smell of old, the smell of home. Today, in this cool dark white and black checkered mazed basement I am alone and unafraid. She isn't here smoking in the laundry room trying to hide her habit, she isn't here listening to the classical station while having her white streak balled up in a unicorn style, wearing a pink and white shirt of my fathers letting toxic black seventies hair dye spill freely. Nope she isn't there...I am alone today in the house.
Upstairs in the living room, the outline of her sits. I am in a trance looking at her chair, wishing she were there drinking a cuppa of coffee and revealing in the sin of eating something tasty. I look for those red lips...'God damn it...I scream god dam it..." No one but me in the living room no one but me.
I heard the living room is plum now, and the hallway is chinese red. The korean lilac has been chopped down and the owners vote for the 'disgraceful sons of a bitches' as my mother would say. The sequoia is still holding high in the yard along with the dogwood fielding it on the opposite end. The spider is gone, to be sure. Yet I wonder just wonder if there isn't something somewhere else she never revealed.
I am alone today at my kitchen table, eating ice cream and smoking. Looking out at the fall branches landing on the yard as the winds blow, the harvest moon the equinox. Time to get the sage and make the list burn it bright in the yard tonight alone while the stars hover over to catch the wishes releasing themselves to the heavens. Wishing Wishing she werent' gone and that the spider and I still had a home....
Happy Birthday to you Anne McShane...happy birthday to the poetry major who has no more miles to go no more miles and no more spiders dead in her thermostat....