all my hopes and fears

There are certain fears which have plagued me for years.

First one is that I would fall and break my teeth. This happened to me, sad to say, except for the falling part. Instead, I jumped face first into traffic and very nearly died.

Sounds dramatic, I know. I was just out of oral surgery and nobody was paying attention to me. Then I thought we were running across the street.  Then I tripped over my sandals. Then I was covered in blood and parts of my own teeth.

I immediately had to go back into oral surgery (emergency this time) so that day was a big fat zero.

Actually, it came with a huge price tag.

It cost my ex-husband $20,000 out of pocket and another $10,000 in insurance to finally make it right.  Towards the nasty rats-ass end of our marriage, he said that he never would have paid so much for a blow job if he’d known in advance how much it would cost.

For the record, there were plenty more than one.

Still, that was a mean thing to say. I think he went on after that with various denigrations of my ability, but I wasn’t listening. I was halfway back home to my parents in my mind.

My daughter was already there, because she was my canary in a coal mine.  If she started to show signs of toxic environment, I packed her up and got her out of the situation pronto. I made her that promise the first time he slapped me, and I kept it.

Of course, I should have done the same for myself, got the hell out of… well, hell… instead of going back to an out-of-control underground garbage fire.

I have some hard-won advice for any person, woman or man, who finds themselves in a hazardous situation like this: document everything.  All you need is a notebook; the court recognizes that it doesn’t have to be formal, only sincere.

My daughter is turning 16 and now I have another fear.  It’s so common a fear that I can discuss it with any parent of any teenager and they will get it.  I don’t know how I survived driving during my teen years, but I did.  The thought of letting Mimi drive a car at high speeds… really, any speeds at all… wakes me up panicking at night.

scared person

Something else that has always scared me, being a desert rat, is being bitten by a rattlesnake, Mojave green or otherwise.

I had a friend growing up whose dog got bit on the nose, because it was sniffing around under rocks, and anti-venin wasn’t readily available for dogs back then, and it was a terrifying and horrendous thing to experience: death by rattlesnake.

Anyway, here’s the poem I wrote after Mexico. You might wonder… is she mad or happy or sad or excited or mad, or what? The answer is yes.

Emotions don’t come in nice and tidy little packages.  Best we can do is work through them, get ourselves outside of them when we can (mediation works!), and do as little harm as possible to bystanders and miscreants.

This poem is a set-piece partner of the previous poem. Both of them are so-so-sonnets.


I’m a child of the Sonoran Desert.
here: monsoons rumble to make rivers run;
always a sunburn waiting at high noon;
and fearsome dangers are met with a gun.

now, of all the low creatures which slither
the most hated is the green rattlesnake.
sharp tooth and venom, it strikes as you blink,
leaving hurt, misery, death in its wake.

now, it isn’t the fault of the serpent,
although I was taught to always shoot first.
it’s hucksters like you, selling me poison,
after giving me one hell of a thirst.

I fear that the Devil, dear one, holds your soul by its roots.
fair warning: in these parts, we kill snakes and wear them as boots.

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