by Ingrid Jedrzejewski
Houses and Cars
When I was little, I never expected I’d turn into a house when I grew up, but what do you know, here I am. I guess it was all that time I spent alone, or maybe it was the wishing.
My rooms aren’t too big or too small. When unfurnished, they seem both spacious and cold, but then, it’s not often any more that I’m on the market. These days, I look out at the street through sash windows, several of which could use a corneal transplant or at least a scrub. My heart beats in the furnace, causing strange sounds to rattle in the radiators. Things and people and ideas fill me, then disappear. Important, meaningful things gather dust in the closets, but remain, sometimes well after their families have left: photo albums; high school yearbooks; a pair of baby shoes, hardly worn. I didn’t choose to become a house, but I’ve become used to it. I’m pretty good at standing still.
The only thing I’m not able to get used to are the cars that are constantly pulling in and out of my garage. They are foreign, grunting things, not at all personable. I feel that if my womb should be so incessantly penetrated, I would, at least, like to be able to entertain the possibility of someday producing a small bungalow I could call my own. But these cars, and the men who drive them, seem sterile and engineered: not at all capable of causing my very foundations to tremble.
A Preference for Burrows
Over the years, I have been called a lamb, a scaredy-cat, a limpet and even a vixen (only once, mind you, and the gentleman was a bit tipsy). I’ve been told I have puppy-dog eyes, bird legs and the face of a horse. I am often busy as a beaver, I used to be as poor as a church-mouse, I have on rare occasions had a whale of a time, and I am currently as blind as a bat without my horn-rimmed spectacles.
If only people would recognize that I am a rabbit, it wouldn’t matter that I walk with an awkward hop, and no one would look at me askance when I wiggle my nose in that particular way to edge the aforementioned spectacles farther up my nose. No one would question my desire to have more children or my fear of large predators. It would not matter that I am a little furry in certain places, and that, sometimes, when faced with things I don’t understand, I sit as if paralyzed while my heart races and my ears twitch.
When I tell you I applied to be the moon, you just laugh. The moon? you ask. You have to be a little bit crazy to be the moon! I know, I say. I am, aren’t I? You raise your eyebrows and leave for work, a smile on your lips.
Personally, I think I am uniquely qualified for such a position. I spend my most conscientious hours awake at night, silently watching over our restless little one, my face peering down, full and sleepless, quiet and trenched. My dark arms wrap around her smallness: I am so close and part of her that she forgets I’m something different from the night itself. We hold ourselves in that wasteland between twilight and daybreak when nobody but the infants and troubled and death-sick and mothers are straining.
And then, after and before such vigils, I go about the day as if I am a different entity: I pack lunches. I sweep the porch. I peel oranges. I post birthday cards. In the dawn and dusk, I kiss you goodbye and hello. I am, otherwise, unseen; in the light of the day, my giant moon face shrivels until it is only the size of an average human head.
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