CONNIE: If these birds die. If they die, I'll write a poem. I'll call it "Death of the Birds and the Death of the Bad Poet." Or maybe just "Dead Birds, Dead Broad." Yeah. And when I print it out, I'll glue glitter along the edges. And draw stars on the white spaces to make it look extra special. And hang it on my wall, where I can read it every day to remind myself why I'm in nursing school instead of living in some castle writing a life and times of Lord Byron, sipping tea and eating cucumber sandwiches and hot Cheetos, even a great, fabulous poet like me would still like those hot Cheetos. I mean, damn, thank you, God, for giving that idea to someone, hot Cheetos. They make my bad tooth hurt and I have to take Aleve every time I eat them ... but life is pain and in the end it's all worth it, right? Is that the lesson I take away for today? I honestly want to know. What lesson am I not learning that I have to keep failing over and over ... what lesson is that?
[Quiet. Matter of fact.]
I'm lost here, God. I'm just ... lost. I couldn't let those stupid, ugly, needy ugly babies die, not like that, kicking and peeping on the barn floor, growing cold and starving, abandoned as if they didn't matter. They mattered to their mother. They matter, surely, to you. I think even Satan likes the birds, they do poop all over everything and piss people off. They wake you up at five and that pisses people off. That must be pleasing to you, Satan, right? The ability of birds to piss off lazy, clean people? But. I'm trying to be funny, to make light of ... of looking down the barrel of a bottle of pills. Of facing I will never be ... anything terrific. That people are making fun of me and my dreams, that people are calling me a failure and worse, that my own father ... to my face, just yesterday ... just yesterday ...
[Clears her throat.]
There are words that clang about in your heart. Like your own father calling you a waste of skin. And he said it under his breath so I almost didn't hear it, but like ... but like he wanted me to hear it. Waste of skin. Waste of time. Waste. And since he's a farmer ... that's a giant sin. Everything has to have a use, a purpose, a function. He lets the dogs, his dogs, kill rabbits and fox babies, he encourages it, cause rabbits and foxes can plug up pipes and damage things, I get it, I totally get it, but ... he sees me in the same light as an unwanted, useless rabbit. Except he can't sic the dogs on me. And ... and I try and fight that belief, cause it's in me, it's in my very bones, that I should have been ordinary, should have been a cheerleader and a mother at twenty. That I should have never ever tried to write or draw or reach, that I should ... I should have been sensible and dull and not care so much when baby birds get knocked out of their nests.
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Copyright © 2010 by Ann Wuehler
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