A girl sits on a wooden bench on a stone patio. The bench stands smooth and square; the rocks are jagged, irregular, like a jar of broken cookies mingled with the shattered glass–softened only by the grass that gasps between the cracks in an effort to emulate life. The girl’s feet join her on the bench as her knees clasp against her chest. One arm dangles down, a long blade of wheat suspended from her fingertips. Beneath the bench a ginger cat sprawls on her side, limbs splayed as she assaults the wicked wheat. Her toes stretch in comic gravity, tiny pink pads mushy against the glint of curved claws.

The girl glances up at an angle to look at her photographer. Her mouth bends, sallow and unprepared. Something sparks, captured in her eye; a spark of annoyance? Displeasure? Hey-you-interrupted-our-game? It’s not a smile.

It’s an odd picture to have in a family album. It’s not exactly something that would win a purple ribbon. We may want to capture all seasons in photographs, but do all seasons want to be captured? When do we have the assurance that we won’t get pounced on?



Originally published in The Sheepshead Review, December 2014

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