Friday, April 19, 2019

Blue Pages — RRRAINNN Special 05 — Tom Snarsky

. . .


A rabbit dashing the wrong way
into traffic, or a goldfish descending
with assistance and plenty of water
they can no longer use. When we use
personal pronouns for animals
we grow closer to what’s actual
-ly happening on the planet we share
with them, letting the fiction slip
a little, burying our hands
in our empty pockets—I let love
get the better of my other foot
when I’m driving: I pretend it’s a
second brake, one that would stop
certain cars and almost certainly
cause an accident, even if it managed
to save the odd animal
darting out wild into the road

Alliterative Names for Small Animals

On their first date, Wilhelmina
the woodchuck and Harriet
the hedgehog had surprisingly
little to say to one another. It
had been a tough stretch for
both of them, and this date
sitting on their calendars for
Thursday evening had felt like
an equal mix of possible joy
and prosocial conformist
dread for most of the week
until they both walked into
the coffee shop at almost the
exact same time, Wilhelmina
holding the door for Harriet
and immediately noticing her
smile, the way it looked like
she almost wanted to hide it—

they sat in silence for a while
after they had had their coffees
and talked a little about work,
the things that took up their days
but almost none of the space
in their souls: Wilhelmina was
a builder who worked down-
town and Harriet worked for
a nonprofit, also in the city
but with way more sitting
than the actual work Wilhelm-
ina did, Harriet had said, and
Wilhelmina felt warmed by the
note of genuine admiration
in Harriet’s voice. The small
talk cleared the air for them
to breathe it together, not
speaking, Harriet looking down

at Wilhelmina’s wrist in the
bad café light and Wilhelm-
ina not wanting to check her
phone on a first date for
the first time in recent
memory. Wilhelmina finally
broke the silence by telling
Harriet how beautiful
her hands were, how she
thought it looked like maybe
they were the same size as
hers, and just as Wilhelmina
spread her fingers Harriet
looked up into her eyes
and took the hint, gently
touching her palm to Wilhelm-
ina’s, involuntarily bringing
her free hand up to her mouth.

Tom Snarsky

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