Unmeasurable


The earthquake broke the living room floor open. The hole was 20 feet deep. One questions foundation at times. 

Here’s a true joke. He pretended to look for a job. He applied for one at a colo-rectal clinic, but they didn’t have any openings. 

My dog had a hysterectomy. Is that the right word? I had my dog spayed on Friday. The vet gal behind the desk couldn’t answer my questions. I asked her what do they do? She said oh just snip snip and bob’s your uncle. I said but what does that mean, do they cut her fallopian tubes or remove her whole uterus or just her ovaries, and how many ovaries does a dog have anyway? 

I see this look behind that glazed service worker expression that says I really don’t like you and she says gosh I don’t know that much about dogs’ anatomy and I glaze back quickly with a smile, say that’s okay thinking ohmigod if I worked at a vet clinic I’d read everything everywhere about dogs’ anatomy, I’d get the dogs’ anatomy coloring book, go to dogsanatomyonline.com, how can anyone do anything eight hours a day and not want to know much very much possibly too much about it, like me in my job at the mental hospital sucking up more details about seratonin reuptake inhibitors and characteristics of initial psychotic breaks in schiziphreniform disorders than is really reasonable and I had to drag my brain kicking and screaming back to the vet clinic where I was anthropomorphizing crazily about Tillie and puppies and being almost 40 with no babies of my own. 

Poor Ms. Tillie, no puppies now or ever. The blank clinic gal said it’s better to do this now, healthier for her if you do it before her first heat, and I’m thinking like you know you little parrot, probably would have been better if they’d had me fixed before it all got so complicated. 

No one is ever ready for life, the way it rolls in and over itself, the undulating quality of time lust dreams loss miracles and sorrow, with the rituals of mothers and daughters only now reappearing and I with no daughter to repair the hole in the living room floor, no chance to bandage and anoint this grief, no knees to kiss, not even my puppy will reproduce. 

He pretended to look for a job. There were no openings. We named our imaginary children together. There were no openings. I saw them clearly, he clearly pretended. The earthquake broke the living room floor open. The hole was 20 feet deep. One questions foundation sometimes. Some questions cannot be answered. If you had a choice, my little dog, would you have had puppies, suckled five small mouths, licked five sightless pairs of eyes? My children have fallen through the hole in the living room floor. The earthquake was so gradual I barely felt it until now. Until now, as the floorboards shift closed beneath my feet. Some questions cannot be answered. Some questions cannot be answered.

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1 Response to “Unmeasurable”


  1. 1 QuoinMonkey May 10, 2007 at 7:47 pm

    This piece is like a long prose poem. I love the part where you speak about how a person should know EVERYTHING about the job they are doing – wouldn’t you think people would know everything about the job they are doing 40+ hours a week? What has happened to natural curiosity?

    I have had that thought go through my head before, oh, so many times – it’s so good to see it so creatively on the page.

    The juxtapositions between the 20 feet deep hole/foundations, the hysterectomy/spaying, pretending/no openings – very compelling.


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