Measure for Measure, April 2015

Refrain

I named my last daughter Echo because in the doctor’s room my hands were placed over my stomach and in the sonogram her hands were placed over her stomach. When she was old enough to speak, I told her I loved her and in response she told me she loved me. How I wondered what to say as a follow-up! But I soon found I didn’t need to. I’d say I love you when I meant Story time’s over or Pass the ketchup or No you can’t tattoo a komodo dragon on your bicep. I love you I love you I love you resounded through the house nearly hourly, like a grandfather clock. This went on for years. I’d once told my husband over breakfast, I wanted to live with someone more like myself. He didn’t hear me, just like he didn’t hear me this morning, when I told him I felt I was finally getting motherhood down. He just turned to the sports section, as if it could offer something new. No wonder I wanted to live with someone more like myself. Cleveland had lost again, I could tell from Echo’s expression. I decided to tend to the garden, like someone who truly was finally getting motherhood down. I put on my overalls. I put on my farmers hat. I put on my sunblock and my work boots and my yellow gloves. I grabbed my bottle of pesticide but, standing before the roses, found I couldn’t pull the trigger. From where I stood, the bugs on the roses looked like a little city. I wondered if they had senators, neighborhoods, family units. I remembered aphids are born pregnant, unless that’s just something I picked up somewhere.

— Liv Lansdale 

 

Polaroid

Shake or shuffle but don’t snip my

photos out from the album under

the stairs for I cannot find us there

or even me slash my looks

slash my lines my washed-out

likeness. What do you call those

chemicals that freeze us dry

when I wave them around like

some stiff flag of surrender? I still

associate memory with rolls of tape

as though wholeness were a purely

physical concern.

— Liv Lansdale 

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