fish bones: part one

For example, we wouldn’t have noticed the cowboy if my daughter and I hadn’t decided to sit down. Not that we debated whether or not to sit. We just sat in the High Leg chairs. And then discovered what levers do. From sit to recline, our viewpoints changed. Beginning with the way voices rose to the warehouse rafters and settled on the I-beams:

. . . the wrong shade of taupe . . . act like you believe in dirt . . . got kissy-faced with Frankie . . . length of the arm is important . . .

We had become anonymous.

The first time you do this—test drive a seat in a retail store (Target, Home Depot, next time we’ll try Costco)—you prepare for the moment when a sales clerk approaches. How may I help you?  You agree to ask if the fabric comes in a better shade of taupe, but soon learn there’s no need to rehearse for this moment. No one will notice you.

Now, through the double glass entrance doors, we watch a cowboy wrestle a yellow stroller from the back of his large crew-cab diesel pickup. A pink blanket falls to the pavement and a baby bottle rolls beneath the truck. There’s a bit of a scramble before baby is removed from the cab and settled into the stroller. Then he backs the stroller into the store, spurs on his dusty boots clanking on the foyer’s marble floor.

How would it be, to never take off your spurs? Your own jangle beside you everywhere you go. We lever back, study the rafters, tune for the chime of spurs wandering through the furniture store.

 . . . oh garbage, i am failing miserably . . . invisible linkage . . . that explains why you need slippers for the beach . . . fish bones in the ear . . .


About redmitten

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

16 responses to “fish bones: part one

  1. wuffda

    magic chairs that render you invisible…I’ll take two.

  2. Another gem, Sherry. Love the interweaving of shoppers’ voices with your observations of the cowboy who jingles thru the store.

    • redmitten

      k-lala, the bird on the wire. the spurs were such a contrast to the baby stroller and the marble foyer. on one hand- take them off. but on the other hand, to have that jingle everywhere you go would be wonderful. (but we wondered- how was it to drive?)

  3. Oh, what a vision! That cowboy, that baby, that pink blanket, those spurs. This reminds us always to “stop and try the recliner.”

    • redmitten

      kathleen- both my daughter and i are long-legged and so we’ve come to realize most chairs aren’t built for us. so this started out by my wanting to test drive a chair, to see if it fit “my ratio”. the discovery of being anonymous and the way other people’s lives are shared while sitting in the high leg chair has been wonderful.

  4. When my daughter and I were couch shopping we would do the ‘saggy corner test’. If it sagged when it was new, how bad would it get in a few years? The image of the cowboy with the baby is kind of like a bull in a china shop isn’t it? All steel and noise and largeness along with the pink and tiny.

    • redmitten

      kerry- ah! the saggy corner test, yes! my daughter and i aren’t even looking for furniture- rather she comes with me when i am going to some place new. we think a new experience must involve a trip away from the ordinary, something racy, something blue, something borrowed 🙂 . . . but really, take yourself to any place you never go. and so this time we found ourselves in a furniture store, listening to the sounds of people not noticing we were there. and yes to that contrast of the spurred cowboy with pink stroller wheeled across the marble floor.

  5. wuffda

    Just think how comforting to the baby the sound of those spurs must be.

    • redmitten

      oh wow, you know what i didn’t think about that. i was still caught up in “me”. but yes, those spurs must soothe her!

  6. Rose Hunter

    Home Depot! … Hmm, well I don’t wear spurs but yet I have my own jangle beside me everywhere I go…. 🙂
    “oh garbage, i am failing [miserably]” is lovely. I think, the start of a poem….

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