Other Luminaries

Other Luminaries by akuokuo Vallis

Glad I changed my mind about med. school — still have that thing with blood — makes me disappear — almost  like magic — but not really.

Water is still running in the kitchen sink — just like I left it — just after I stuck my hand into it — trying so, so hard not to see those drops of red.  Shock — had to be.  Must have bumped my head too — because —  this time — it was different.

Not an out of body experience, I don’t think.  More like that place between sleep and waking where you’re not really anywhere  — not even dreaming.  Confusing.  Because I was  just about to pour hot fudge sauce on my lime sherbet — just about to lick the spoon — at Gifford’s — getting ice cream with my dad and sisters.  My dad always got the works.

I loved that about him — I miss that.

I miss him.

The UPS man was carrying a crumpled, opened box — chewing gum, snickering.

Can’t believe you bought a Thigh Master, he said.

Didn’t mean to slam the door — that hard.  A picture fell.

Then there was a deep quiet — worth exploring — but I couldn’t.  My right ear was throbbing. No blood though.  Not sure how that deer got in the dining room.  I stood up — and it turned back into a chair.

 

Dig in the Soil

plants by Akuokuo Vallis

Don’t look, don’t look, don’t look, my twin sister said

I zoomed in on the latecomer — anyway — and was instantly beamed back — a million years, at least — to recess — on the blacktop — where this girl — with her fingers sticking out of her pants  — chased — no, terrorized — other girls.

I’m a boy, she’d say, beating her chest like Tarzan.

Thought I’d forgotten that.

The Ikebana class started with a brief meditation and prayer.

Then I spent way too much time shuffling, scrambling, searching for the right words to say — because — I really did not know what to say.

Hey, you two!  You look exactly like you did in 5th grade — only taller.  Ha!

Pounding his chest — just like she used to — Jeannette said,  I’m Timothy now — by the way.

I pointed and gestured with my pinkie, You have a noodle in your beard.

Small world, my twin sister said.

 

Tastes Like Rocky Road

Disconnect by Akuokuo Vallis

Almost late for her Feldenkrais lesson because I felt a nudging, a need to pull over and get a book from a Little Free Library — on the way.

Can’t this wait, my mother said.

I wasn’t even reaching for that book — it just kinda tumbled out and fell onto my feet — upside down and open.

There was a note inside.

I will not let you forget me. 

It was handwritten on a plain piece of paper— nearly ripped in half and really crumpled— like it was meant for the trash can but somehow didn’t get to that trash can — because it found its way to me — instead.

A message from the universe, my mother said — sitting in the car.  Teasing me.

You’ve indeed found me again my love,  I whispered then wrote — on that really crumpled — nearly ripped in half — plain piece of paper — that was now tucked back inside that book– now sitting, waiting on the shelf.  I was giddy about what could happen next.

Too much grinning and thinking — I was a zoo animal — a hyena, probably —  until a little old lady  picked up that book — and put it in her purse.

 

He Said Spiders Are Spies

snake view by Akuokuo Vallis

Chop the head off — real good — or — you’ll be sorry, said the know-it-all handyman from across the street.  He was waving around a drippy, sloppy sandwich — talking to us — over here — about snakes.  His dribble-drabble-koo-koo-talk was heat induced —  I’m sure.

Looked like hummus with alfalfa sprouts and a ton of fermented vegetables on some kind of thickly sliced nut bread — not sure if those were sesame seeds or sunflowers seeds — but it was definitely homemade.  Why not just make it into a salad, I blurted out — covering my mouth with my hands — like I was 6 or something —  about to get in trouble in class — about to stand in the corner — all because that girl Augusta wouldn’t give me my new silver crayon back.  And my dress was too short — on picture day!

My twin sister just stared at me — like I was the crazy one.  I wanted to leave — but didn’t — especially since the handyman was so super proud of that severed snake head — acting like he saved us — saying he could save the whole universe — from something — inaudible sounding — if only they’d listen, he said.

You should get back to your work — OVER THERE,  I said.  Telepathically.

Then he starts  pointing out these little white snake eggs.  Have to be careful with these eggs. These eggs are already sending signals to their mom.  

Too bad you didn’t put that in the ground last week, the handyman said —  noticing the tomato plant — I just dropped.

 

Back in the Garden

apples and carrots by Akuokuo Vallis

Wrote my name in neat little block letters on the professor’s attendance sheet —  making it look like I belonged there — like it was meant to be.  Just wanted something different — an escape from poly-sci and econ.  Plus — I really liked the smell of turpentine.  The whole art department reeked of it.  And I loved it.

Second semester — sophomore year —  I followed some paint splashed, costumey-looking students into a very large, open studio.  It was freezing in there — never could figure that out.  But it had huge floor to ceiling windows — that let in the most exquisite natural light.  I had to stay.

When the professor sat next to me — pointing to the DIY name on his list — I started gathering my things.

Stay,  the professor said.  Nice name.  Stay.

I was the only one oddly giggling — when this guy and girl — I called  them Adam and Eve — started taking off their clothes — the girl kept her socks on — always.

Draw what you see,  the professor said.

By the end of the semester — I had quite a collection of very highly detailed,  anatomically correct  renderings  of mostly apples and carrots.

 

Sunny with Scattered Showers

crystal balls and Mother Adams by akuokuo Vallis

Leave them alone, my mother said.  Let them be.

But I couldn’t.  My great grandmother’s crystal balls — needed to be cleaned.  Cleansed  is a better word — I think.

Mother Adams — my great grandmother– Frank and Lucinda’s daughter– was clairvoyant and worked as a medium.  Smoke and mirrors, my mother says.

Mother Adams had nightly seances and redeemed spirits in her basement church.  A racket — a scam,  my mother says.

But — ever since the cleansing — things are different — quieter even.

It’s a good thing.   I am happy about it.  Truly.

But —  I do miss those orbs of light — especially the demurely lovely, serenely beautiful purple ones — the ones that would just show up — gently floating — unannounced — out of nowhere — at any time — but, mostly at night or when people came over.

Everything ok?  My mother would say —  with a wink.

My eyes always popped open whenever I’d see one.  But —  not now — not after the cleansing.  Now — we just have feathers showing up — unannounced — out of thin air. Should probably clean Mother Adams’ china cabinet.

Idoesn’t need to be cleaned, my mother said.  Let it go.

Cleansed is a better word — I think.

 

Heat Before Serving

microwave by Akuokuo Vallis

It wasn’t the snickerdoodles — it’s just — the wording — Cookies for Satan — on those big, giant, huge posters — gave the wrong idea.  We didn’t sell any.  But — at least — that homeless man standing next to us — on the corner — near the bus stophad a nice snack. And — at least — that reporter lady — getting off the bus — stopped — and talked to us. Thanks to her  — two weeks later — in rural, southern Maryland — Satan was saved.

Nobody will know, my twin sister said.  Could be fun, I said.

We were both wrong.

Not about the whole twin-switcheroo-thing — that’s just what twins do.  It’s a fact!  It’s just — we should have started with something simpler, less complicated — something that would not make the evening news or the morning paper.

Satan was an unbelievably HUGE-GIANT-ANGRY-MEAN former Park Police horse.  Probably should have warned my twin sister about that triple bolted gate.  But — my 8th grade Work Internship —  at the stables — did not normally involve cleaning the stalls or the horses.

Metal does not belong in the microwave.  

Trust me — it doesn’t.

Not sure why I thought that can of Beefaroni was different.  That’s how the microwave — in the kitchen– at the nursery school — where my twin sister had her 8th grade Work Internship — went — KABOOM!