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Slow veronica…

March 26, 2010

The elephant was saying her name to herself…

It was not a name that would make sense to humans…

It was an elephant name — a name her brothers and sisters knew her by,

a name that they spoke to her in laughter and play…

It was a name that her mother had given her,

and that she had spoken to her often,

and with love…

Deep within herself,

the elephant said this name,

her name,

over and over again…

She was working to remind herself of who she was…

She was working to remember that,

somewhere,

in another place entirely,

she was known and loved…

in The Magician’s Elephant by Kate Di Camillo

I fixed a window this morning…

My neighbour showed up at my door,

all anxious,

and frustrated…

She asked Starshine,

who is home for the day,

with symptoms of grief and sadness,

masking themselves,

as a bad cough,

and cold,

and bloodshot eyes,

Is your mom around???

I came down the century old,

wood stairs,

one at a time,

in bare feet…

I told my neighbour,

I’ve been crying…

I’m reading a Western…

She laughed,

and wanted to know,

if I knew,

the number,

of Mr. Windowfixerman…

I looked into my hard drive,

and pulled up,

partial information,

and a bad gut feeling…

She told me about her fallen sash,

on the ground floor,

one block from East Hastings…

How she feared for her security…

She wondered what she was going to do through,

the night,

if she couldn’t get a hold,

of a Mr. Fixerman

I said,

Let me have a look at it…

The inner workings of leaking toilets baffle me,

but I’m good with windows…

I don’t think you’re going to need to call in an expert…

When we got to her house,

I’d seen it all before…

She wanted to help,

but her hands were getting in the way…

I know you’re trying to be of assistance but could you please stand back…

This is intuitive work…

I can’t rightly explain what I’m about to do…

I jimmied the sash into place,

putting the guides in each track,

balanced it,

flipped it up,

and popped it into place,

like a dislocated shoulder,

after a finished check,

into the boards…

Locking the catch I said,

You’re safe and sound now Ma’am…

The phone rang,

she answered,

and I took quiet exit…

Heading south down the block,

back to my house,

in sheepskin slippers…

There are questions floating around,

as to whether I’m going to be seeking,

employment opportunities,

with the Vancouver Canucks…

I’m already working for them…

I’m just not on the payroll,

yet…

We are men of constant sorrow... (photo: Starshine)

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