>on naming her twelve hundred months


On Naming Her Twelve Hundred Months

For example, she gets August and Tuesday mixed up
and she’d like to name the next month Caesar. Julius
after that. I sense that she prefers infinity, avoiding
things that go around and come back again—which is why
her father asked my mother to tell me the least I could do
is write to her, maybe apply for a visitor’s pass.

I show her the piano in the day room with keys named
one through eighty-eight. Octaves don’t exist. She skips
the scales we learned as kids but plays killer
ragtime blues. Speaking of music and Tuesday,
my puppy stops barking when I say things
like Excuse me, or Ruby Tuesday, or when I sing the blue

shoe song she likes. Layla is the Irish Setter I rescued
from the pound. Her previous owner gave her up
because she’s afraid of a rifle going off, bullets
in a barrel, the click from a trigger’s pull, the sounds
of hunting season, the sound September makes.

Previously published in Fifth Wednesday Journal.

Photo Credit: William O’Keefe


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

4 responses to “>on naming her twelve hundred months

  1. >Something very familiar, not entirely comfortable, about "I sense she prefers infinity, avoiding things that go around and come back." In the poem and photo I feel a kinship I can't quite name to once-traveled roads and the reminder of a frequent wish to give words my own definitions. This is a favorite destination for depth and connections.

  2. >I don't know why but this made me cry. I'm alone, it's raining. I thought I was fine…. I was flooded with memories of dogs and family.. all gone now.. and the reminding of my mortality.

  3. >Reminds me of my grandma in the 'home'. One of the few things she remembers is Sam, her old sheppard cross who was always around the kitchen with her. Beautiful poem Sherry.

  4. >marylinn, yes, "not entirely comfortable". as always, your astute observations teach me something.farmlady! oh alone and raining and memories combine for a lethal combination. this was a hard poem to write and i am sorry for your losses.kerry- isn't that something that she remembers sam that well. some sort of wavelength travels without our notice, back and forth between us all.

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