Maybe for the dog days, a collage, a prose poem
I find the last month of the summer a hard one, I find all holidays are hard when everyone has others. “We always go to my cousins at the lake house,” a woman sighs in my office elevator. “It gets bigger every year, with all the babies, And Aunt Barb.”
The same woman just wept in the Weight Watchers meeting. “It won’t be Thanksgiving without Aunt Barb’s blackberry pie!”
My therapist reminds me, “Don’t say ‘everyone.’ You don’t know ‘everyone.’” She also says “make plans.” Even though all those others at the lake house just go. They are not here to make plans; they will be back after two weeks, say their out of office emails. They don’t plan, they didn’t plan to lose their family so young, they do not need to seek gatherings. They bang pots and pans to keep the deer away from the plumpening blackberry bushes. Aunt Barb prefers to quilt on the screened porch; it is too hot to knit.
Make plans. Like the other doctors say ‘lose weight, don’t eat carbs.’The professor born in Hollywood told me that to succeed in Los Angeles “You have to look a certain way.” Her hand, ringed but not lacquered, rested on my screenplay, unread, un-even-so-much-as-ruffled, why bother? since its author was so very ruffled.
Her eyes sweeping me from head to foot in case I miss her meaning, sweeping from my forehead scars to my feet which can’t bear stilettos.
Make plans. No carbs. You don’t know ‘everyone.’ Or, in that regard, ‘anyone.’
In England they say “the summer hols” to indicate this time when everyone is away and if they have made plans, well . . . looks like you were not included. Even though I don’t know everyone, even though I’m exiled from the California beauty fray. Even though stilettos can’t bear the weight of me, even though I lack an Aunt Barb, the last month is as tart-tough as a blackberry pie with those seeds, those seeds that stick in your teeth forever.