Tuesday, June 10, 2008
6: Poetry Readings and Dental Surgery
They had to take me back into the cave of the vet clinic, through the winding halls and to the kennels where waiting surgery-ed dogs and cats looked lonely and pitiful. There he was, in all his grumpy glory, hissing and spitting at the vet tech, like I knew he would; I had to go back and it took no coaxing. She said to me, amazed, "Wow, he does really well with you." Yup, my Libby is a one-person cat. There is absolutely no denying that.
And yesterday, he had his teeth cleaned and two crowns extracted, and he is in a complete haze, his eyes washed back, his face damp from the ooze of surgery, his tongue poking out. I carried him upstairs; he was limp in my arms, meowing creakily, and he stumbles around now that he's up here, looking as if he fell into the homebrew and refused to come back out until he's had a good, long drink. It's the kind of surrender that makes me feel like the worst pet-mommy ever; he's snarly when you try to brush his teeth. After this though, my savings account drying up in the face of a TA's salary, and his burly bluster squashed, I think I can sacrifice a few nicks to keep him from this torture again.
Last night I had another poetry reading at Intermedia Arts. It was an end-of-the-mentorship reading, ten of us in all, under the bright lights of the evening stage. Ryan came; he sat in the front row with me, tolerated my shuffling through papers, deciding and re-deciding which poems to read. In the end, I picked just four, and fell into the rhythm of listening, disinterested in my own work, distracted and quiet.
On the drive up, I felt a tickle at my leg, and, expecting a tick, I discovered one of the above creatures, the third I found yesterday. The one above is not the same; this one I dragged into the house and brought out the macro lens, pleased at the shimmery hues, the protective "eyes" dotting its spine glimmering beneath the lens. The one in the car was quicker, and I kept it cupped in my hands while driving through the zippy city, hoping it wouldn't creep out and get lost in the machinery of the car. I let it loose in a green patch of the parking lot, hoping it wouldn't get squashed or eaten, hoping it would turn into a butterfly. What a remarkable transformation, this metamorphosis, this thing we take for granted as a party of everyday life.
I am working on undergoing one of my own versions of transformation this summer: not just the change from teacher to student, but also back to a healthier version of myself. Today's workout: mowing the lawn. I should say jungle as it hadn't been mowed in weeks, the rain preventing us on days when we were home, the combination with the sun urging it to grow faster. It's been a year of many firsts for me, and this was one: mowing the lawn. (How strange to be so old and to not have taken on this duty?) I learned the small tricks everyone knows by now--the best path, the thump of mower against grass to dislodge the clumps. Now I have a wet blister on my thumb, proof, along with the haggard yard, of my afternoon, of this new vow to experience firsts.