Gertie

Turns out I didn’t have as many house photos as I thought I did. But I went ahead and edited a few of the sweet cat I bonded with while staying in the guest house last weekend – I never did ask what her name was, and nobody told me, so I have named her Gertie. She never would sit still long enough for me to get a decent shot, but I managed to pull together a few that weren’t a total blur.

gertie

Any time I came near her she’d crawl out from under the little table where she hangs and demand my attention. OK, she didn’t have to demand, she got it just by being cute.

gertie2
Yes, my sister-in-law did stamp turkey tracks into the concrete of her guest house. Did I mention she’s a stickler for details?

Gertie also liked to rub her head against the metal stair railing; she’d bang it so hard you could hear it ring out like a gong. I don’t think she’s into self-abuse, just being an enthusiastic cat.

gertie3
I don’t know why, but I like this picture.

Here is a picture of the water silo as seen from my bedroom window. I don’t know why I like this picture either, it’s just water storage – but I do.

silo

And here is a shot of the new house, although this isn’t all of it. It’s longer, but I was too lazy to continue walking backwards to get it all into the shot. Yes, I really did just say that.

house

And this is a photo of a painting made by my husband’s grandmother. My sister-in-law had this spot over the dining table set up for this painting in particular; it has its own special light beaming down on it.

painting

Their grandmother and grandfather moved to some land in Big Bend at some point in their lives, building a house of stone there with their own two hands and basically hiding out from the world in the middle of the desert. My SIL loved going out there and spending time with them. In a way she’s created her own place out in the country to mimic theirs, albeit more refined and less deserted than her grandparents’ place. Apparently that old stone house is still standing but has been abandoned for some time; no one has lived in it since they passed away. My SIL went out to see it a few years ago and said it still has the table set for company (I just realized I’ve never asked if this is a painting of the actual stone house; my guess is that it is but I have never gotten that confirmed).

nook

As I might have mentioned, I’m returning to work tomorrow, so I expect my writing will get more sloppy as I have less time to pull these posts together. Hopefully you will forgive my lack of grace or grammar as I move forward.* In closing, here’s a shot of some more barn kitties, ones with which I did not bond. They were sweet enough, just not as convenient as Gertie, who was always hanging out right outside my bedroom door.

kitties

*For some reason, I like to upload posts both here and at Flickr right after midnight each day, but clearly that is going to have to change also. My plan is to continue writing the posts a day in advance, and to upload them first thing in the morning when I get up. That’s what I do on Flickr when school is in session.This probably matters to no one, but I’m mentioning it anyway. 

Dog Years – Poem

Dog Years

When I lie down and press my face
against the bristle of his body, and hear
his dog-heart in my ear, I think
how definite death is, his animal life
so much shorter than my own, so real
I can already feel the loss, dank
and heavy as his breath,
but loving him anyway, loving him more,
perhaps, because of it, the way I love
all things I know won’t last. Once
I was told that they have no sense
of time, that, to my dog, after I leave
it’s as if I never existed, but when I come back
he has no memory of my absence. And this is why
he occupies his time with bathroom trash
and sofa cushions, reducing all I’ve left behind
into a ragged nest of moments. And this is why
I think of death when I lie down at night
by his side: because his life without me
is simple, because the death
I am afraid of is my own, because each time
I come home I am born again.

Winner of the Austin International Poetry Festival, 2011