The Hippopotami


Here they are again in the kitchen Saturday noon-thirty, the hippopotami. You don’t have any milk? This isn’t just about you. God, at least go out and buy some milk! A lifelong act of flinching visibly sliding off my shoulders, most likely due to root beer and vodka. Or: I cook Pop Tarts for lunch and a vegetable, always a vegetable. For example: fries of the French variety. It’s not like a sit-com, no laughing or suddenly a quirky neighbor at the door. Was that me crying over spilt hippopotami? No, I don’t cry, I honk. I honk along with the V of geese as it sways and swaddles the air, as it bends into U then W then back into V, above me as I drive corn-drenched Indiana to pick up my ten-year-old son. He says, “Mom wants to know why you’re always writing about drinking. Mom says that’s enough about drinking.” Ha! Ha, hee, ho, howl, guffaw, son. No one can tell a writer what to write. You’d have a better chance instructing the mountain where to dew. Has a lot been written about alcohol? Yes. And a lot fallen about the rain, a lot driven about automobiles, but still here we are wheels spinning and even your mother isn’t going to walk home tonight. Oh now, to believe my own words, my forked tongue, what we call splitting, when you hiss to a child about someone they love. It doesn’t help a thing. I hope you sweep and mop the floor. It’s disgusting. Your house is disgusting. I so want to, I do. Or maybe I don’t, but anyhow the hippopotami, on their backs, wobbling. What do they resemble, son? Giant Brillo pads. Giant Brillo pads? You have to do better than that. Like lumpy, laughing clouds. Yes! Laughing clouds. Well done. Here is your coffee mug of milk—please inform the universe I did purchase milk —and a can of Pringles, for dipping.  

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