In the morning, my child asks a question. “You know when your foot dangles off the bed and makes a dark shadow, but also a light shadow? And there’s a place where they overlap? What’s that called?”
Loading the washing machine, I see the body of a mouse wedged beneath the dryer. When I shove the sheets and towels into the drum, the mouse shivers. Not mouse—lint, clumped into mouse-shape. I take the lint body to the kitchen and bury it in the trash. Hours later, when I open the lid to scrape the breakfast plates, I find the carcass of a mouse.
Having a cat is like having a ghost in the house. She darts through a room and lights flicker. Or, I blink.
An email to my parents is long overdue; I have little to say. I mean to type, Things are quiet here, but instead type, Thighs are quiet here. Which is true, too.
I walk to the post office to mail bills. An unkempt rose hedge borders the sidewalk, snags my arm with deviant branches. Its thorns not green or brown, but white. Shark teeth. In line at the post office I make a list of people to whom I’d send a bouquet of those roses, teeth intact.
Leaves congregate, whispering on the steps to the house. I kick through a pile. The leaves smear beneath my feet. Not leaves, but the eviscerated organ of a small mammal. Not leaves, but veined and maple red.
I make a bouquet not of shark teeth roses, but of the oldest, most robust flower in my garden: Helleborus foetidus, also know as bear’s foot. Its blooms are green and won’t smell fetid unless crushed. Consumed, they will cause delirium, like Digitalis purpurea. Also known as foxglove. Also known as witch’s glove. All flowers are one thing, and another.
With the dust mop I clean the fault line in the bedroom where wall meets ceiling and a single thread of spider web dangles. When I inspect the mop, I find a strand of my graying hair.
I drive into town for groceries. Finished with the shopping, I get into the car and am confused by the mold-lipped mug of coffee in the cup holder I don’t remember leaving, the child’s car seat I was sure I had long since put into storage. Only when I try to start the ignition do I understand the vehicle is not mine. Same model, same color, unlocked and two spaces down from where I parked, not mine.
School day over, workday over, the house fills with voices. Not mine. Dinner is a séance in which discussion summons the day past. Poorly.
In the shower, I rinse soapsuds from my feet and see that I have a blackened toenail, but no—the black tile is not my foot. Not yet.
A bullet of toothpaste hits the sink.
Middle of the night. Knock knock. Someone at the door. My pulse pounds. Knock knock. Someone at the door. I walk down the stairs. My foot hovering above the floorboards makes a familiar shape.
Sometimes it takes a whole day to find an answer. Child, the place where dark shadow and light shadow overlap is me.