A Good Joke

Holds a grain of truth.  Take my mother in law.  Please.  She brings us a telescope, from a red box: AS SEEN ON TV, $19.99.  I shit you not.  This brushed aluminum albatross.  This Mantis.  And my husband says, "You can't store a telescope outside, in the sun."  Where he keeps a lonely red canoe.  Where I drag a sleeping bag, a bottle of Reisling (no cork—don't need it).  Spread out in the grass, with a memoir by Simone de Beauvoir (one of her five).  I read how her father wanted boys, and told her so.  How when the Nazis took Paris, she hid underground, and fought in The Resistance.  Then I place the book flat.  Watch a black ant crawl along its spine.  I finish the wine.  Sprawl out, with the scent of soil and the nearby creek, and wait.  To join the wind blowing, the rustling trees.  The clouds taking shape: hair dryer, mermaid, Eiffel Tower.  And what of above the clouds?  Behind the blue eyelids of the sky?  I'm sorry, but it stirs no blood.  As a grasshopper lifts, and is speared from its clatter by a mockingbird.  As I glance up, at slick boulders, the deep pool below; and think of the telescope.  Tumbling in the froth.  Lodged against sodden limb.  A water snake coiled about its legs, hunting frogs.  The pity of it is, we are free. I know that, Simone.  But even you let Sartre treat you like a dog; and look, the fickle silver of water over stone.  It's laughing.    

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