two lugs short

The spark has gone missing in her voice. Had we known, we would have savored it more. But no—that’s not true. We did savor her gaiety and the way she stood, hands on hips watching her beloved dog, Annie, swimming in the creek, pretending to be a beaver. Every time we paused, hands on hip, to soak in the pleasure between Annie and her lady, we knew all the way through our elbow-bridges and heart-boxes this was the way of Earth.

Water, pasture, joy. Sheep, dog, bliss.

We thought the Annie factor would last longer. She was just turning six. And even in dog years (three times four point two, plus 2 times six, plus one times seven) this meant so many more creeks to swim, so many more TV shows to watch beside her lady. Instead, something she ate, or something she drank shut down her liver and kidneys. And now the spark is gone.

Pull me with you.


The kitchen table has become a design studio. Beck is giving up on finding the word, Fit, in one of the thirty-one semi-ruined books we have allowed ourselves to cut into. Welcome to Whitewash and Co. We are making paper collages from my poetry and fitting them into glass-tile pendants.

Select one “F” from the 1950’s reading book with crayoned and torn pages. Add one it from a Crisco-soaked cook book. And if you stick your tongue between your teeth the way mother, aunt and grandmother do, then the two shall blend together.

Next, the poetry lesson. “Into” is not the same as “in to.” Both Finn and Beck would rather not hear the entire by-laws of poetic slant in regards to prepositions. They quickly cut to the chase by asking the poet for more lemonade. While lemonade is being poured, someone slyly glues In and to together onto the collage. And now we have myriad slants involving how it feels to be hollow.

Fit/Into the hollow.

The way it feels to lose your dog; to come up short with whatever brought you sparks. Sister, herding, standing hip-to-hip.

Please, someone: carve me out . . .

Click here for more pendants.


About redmitten

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

20 responses to “two lugs short

  1. I am always amazed at how you make poetry I can understand out of everyday life. Bravo!

  2. like ‘into’, ‘fit’ is better as an amalgam of two. the poet in your story is an amalgam of two as well – a cobbler of words and a pourer of lemonade.

    the pendant is glorious, the loss of annie tragic. you have carved out a stunning duality here.

    • redmitten

      amanda- you help me make sense of myself, thank you! and fit is better as an amalgam of two- i like that. i’m glad you like the pendants i(we) am(are) making. the annie tragedy has a new story coming, in the form of a white/black pointer whose name might turn out to be Lucky. we’ll see . . .

  3. oh my. love it. love the pendant too!

    • redmitten

      mm- some new pendants are in production. did one the other day that reminded me of you. dauntless. it should be at the etsy website within the week. thank you!

      • they should sell well at etsy. i need to remove my drawings – no attention at all! i hope you continue to enjoy the process and the making of some extra $

      • redmitten

        the process is all joy. we’d rather be designing than fishing, turns out! thank you for the thumbs up. hey, let me know where i can find you in etsy. i love your artwork.

  4. Rose Hunter

    So shiny and pretty they pull me with them….
    I am sorry about Annie. 😦 😦

  5. “And now the spark is gone.” Oh, my, Sherry, the sadness every dog owner will fell in reading this. We all know what it’s like. Oof.

    • redmitten

      k-lala, annie was the sort of dog who helped you remember where you put your spark. i am glad you understand, but also know what it takes in a person’s life to have come to this understanding . . .

  6. wuffda

    I am crying now…you’ve carved out my heart.

  7. When a dog dies part of the owner goes with it. Or is it the dog stays with you? There needs to be a pendant for that. Although, please God, not a dog nose on a chain. Just heard about that the other day…I wonder why there are so many poems about cats (and visual art) but not many about dogs. They are either dressed up in tutus or have a duck in their mouth.

    • redmitten

      laurie- oh, the dog stays with you. that’s warm. mm mmmm. yikes- dog nose on a chain? crime! we did a pendant for annie’s owner at her request. it says dog/gone. i’ll post it on the whitewash page on fb when it’s glaze is dry.

  8. First, congratulations on your etsy shop, the pendants and dog tags and money to go fishing. The missing spark is a great loss. I’m sorry. xo

    • redmitten

      marylinn- always good to hear from you. the missing spark is not always possible. in real news, my sister has a new pup and is certain annie has instructed the new pup on how to embrace his new home. as far as the pendants go- we love it so much we now pass on fishing so we can stay at the design studio (kitchen table) and work on more pieces. something about creating fills each of us deeply.

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