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Mining in Spain
Waves of aches, dwarves hammering in my head, whistling while they work. Fever and nausea. Meningioma, Señora. It’s a healing fairy, my daughter smiles under tears. Long dangling stripey legs. Wings too small to fly, the bumble bees’ dilemma. My kids, my ex, my now, my boss, my friends— all rooting for me in the clinic’s café, cracking jokes. While they dig for my hammering dwarves on the operating table, I go on field trips. Then I flatline. That must have been the moment when I realized that death does not exist. It’s just stepping over the line. Later I absented myself completely, when my head weighed at least a ton, the size of a Pilates ball. Just pull in your feelers and pretend you’re not in. But you can’t keep it up. Eventually the stuff they give you wears off. Pain. It almost makes you scream— But you know it’s not done. My love is smothering my face with moisturizer. He holds me tight, walks behind me. One step at a time old girl, don’t worry, we’ll get there.
The Ashes of Ukraine
Zombie-like we stumble through the mud, and all I can think of is my cat, Murzyk. I wasn’t sure whether it was better to put him down before the Russians came, but then I decided to let him find his own fate. I mourn his loss and my heart rends thinking of his suffering. Will he be cold? Will he be hungry? Will he be shot and eaten? The Russian soldiers are not well provided for. Some don’t even know where or whom they are fighting. We always lived close to the 'Big Bear', aware. I don’t think we ever felt safe. Still, there was love and fun, friendship and bullying, grandmother dying of cancer, grandfather in a wheelchair. Oh my God, how can I mourn the cat when we had to leave grandfather behind? I am soulless. I shudder. My home, my family, my childhood, my youth, my school, my friends… I am beginning to feel the enormity of what we've lost. Who will I become?
Hiding in the copse A group of mud-caked refugees The echo of gunfire