This one has a long title; the full title is “Everything from the hive is beneficial./Amazing creatures the Lord made,” which is a direct quote from this article about the event that inspired the poem: an arson in a beehive collective in Texas that killed perhaps half a million bees.
I said to Dakota, “What should I write a story about?”, and he said, “Write about the time Sookie got out.” So, based on the very true story of when I lived in Greenpoint and Sookie escaped for three days, this is “Bartosz and the Cat.”
Bartosz and the Cat
Bartosz was already running late, his paint-spattered boots smacking a staccato beat against the steel plates on the stairs, when he saw the cat, sitting under the stairs, her eyes wide and stupid. He remembered the face and the red collar from the flyer slipped under his door— “Lost Cat,” his daughter Kasia said, in her loud, clear English, “oh, Papa, ktoś stracił kota,” she translated into Polish for him. “Dziewczyna numer cztery.” He only nodded, grunted, “Hmmph.” The girl in number four. Why Cas had rented to an American girl, who could say. Probably she could pay. Greenpoint was getting more expensive by the month and, with one of those Brooklyn girls in, Cas would probably get greedy and see how much more he could charge.
And now her cat was missing. Except it wasn’t, because there it was, sitting under the stairs.
It’s hard to believe, when one is standing over a pile of grimy white folding chairs at eleven a.m., surrounded by a Pinterester’s nightmare of wooden crates and beer growlers and baby’s breath, that a wedding is going to happen in a mere six hours’ time. We’re short a table, unless ten folks want to try to jam ten pairs of adult legs under a table more ideally intended for six or perhaps eight; the high winds knock over fragile centerpieces, spilling water already discolored from plant matter in cascades over the rented robin’s-egg-blue tablecloths; there aren’t enough scissors or extension cords or wine glasses, the latter issue having already sent no fewer than four relatives on a desperate errand to Party City the previous evening.
Donna told me, when I was panicking the night before my own wedding, that things always come together, and that it was important to remember that it would be one of the very few times that so many people I loved would be all together in one space. I imagine something went wrong at my wedding, but who could say what anymore? I do remember all those people in that one space, and the way it added up to the only memory that really matters: that of being surrounded by love at the moment Dakota and I promised more of that love to each other.
Trying something new: I’m going to post a short-short (aka flash fiction) on Fridays, at least for the next few weeks. Let me know what you think! This one is about the upcoming AP Art History exam, with (of course) a cameo from Hannah Gadsby. (You haven’t seen Nanette yet? Come on!)
Les demoiselles d’Avignon
Aidan asks me to skip the afternoon with him and go to MoMA. “It’s basically studying,” he says. “We can get in for free. Calc is going to be whatever because Popov isn’t here today, and then, like, what, you have studio?” He leans up against my locker, all that long curly blonde hair slipping out from behind his ear, hiding the curved row of silver studs climbing up his left earlobe. I’ve looked at that ear every single day in AP Art History. I know how many earrings there are (nine) and the shapes they’re in (a skull, a cube, an X, and six little balls).
“I can bring my flash cards,” I say, and instantly know I’ve said the wrong thing. But I was planning on flipping through them during studio while spacey Ms. Abrams just drifts around our easels, so I don’t want to miss my study time.
He rolls his eyes and smiles. “Whatever, Swann. Let’s just bounce after lunch is all I’m saying.”