Dear You: It’s True (a literary letter)

6 Dec

Dear You,

1.

Udder astonishment is a different thing than utter astonishment.  It’s when the teats tense up, the milk retreats, the cow moos long and low, the barn door grieves with her.

It’s a ghostly, ghastly moment– the disruption of rhythm, the physical embodiment of the realization that you have pushed someone else too far, startled her into hiding.

I’ve never milked a cow, but I’m American, and aren’t we all secretly farmers and ranchers?

II.

Stalls seems right-sized to me.  Perhaps it’s because I’m small.  Whatever.  If a cow or horse can fit in there, you can too.  Don’t you think of cozy things?  Straw and warm animal breath and rain on the barn roof?  I’m guilty, I admit.  I, too, like to glamourize the shit out of barns.  Literally: I pretend it doesn’t exist.  I like the word mucking though.  It has nice rhymes.  Yes, cozy things: rusty pails and nails, and jagged splinters one can spend whole satisfying afternoons pulling out of the soles of one’s feet.

III.

You would actually know these things.  You are probably sighing at my ignorance, my romantic notions, my presumptions.  You, ol’ salt-of-the-earth-my-ass McGee.  Screw you.

I miss you.

I thought of you today because it rained, the kind of rain you curse and kick at.  You and your odd affinity with crows.  Scavengers, recyclers, pirates, you call them.  You wouldn’t love them if you knew.

IV.

One’s watching me right now.  Real suspicious-like.  Won’t even move when I shake a sudden hand at him.  Like all greedy, ogling men.  Keeps inching closer along the outside edge of the windowsill.  Doesn’t think the screen pertains to him.  Shaking his wings out like I care.

V.

I picked up the newspaper and snapped it toward the open air.  He scattered, disappeared, didn’t even voice his fear.  Udder astonishment, right here.  My pen crawls back up into my hand.  What was I saying to you?  Something about fear, about startling ourselves as much as others.  About knocking over a glass of milk and pulling back so hard your elbow hits the wall.

It’s Monday here.  How are you?

MM

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