Get the neighbor’s turkey carcass for soup.
Also, holiday pumpkin bars.
She hands me two sacks on the dark sidewalk.
I turn, see a streetlight glowing yellow in a thin cat’s eyes.
Now, people emerge,
Characters in an Irish novel (John McGahern’s That They May Face the Rising Sun).
I hear my mother:
“The trouble with you is that you read and then think the people are real.
“You escape, you avoid, you should stop such involvement.”
But I see:
A back-to-rural-Ireland couple just out of London.
Their nosy neighbor.
An English-hating rebel.
A wealthy builder “The Shah.”
A former church-abused orphan.
A womanizing bully.
A drunk and embittered carpenter.
They’re in front of me.
They pass the cat.
The carcass and pumpkin bars, dead weights in hand.
The Irish walk on,
I’m getting to know them,
Will even more as the book progresses.
The cat enters the dark with the Irish.
I deliver the carcass and bars.
The book is on the shelf, page marked.
My mother shrugs, turns away, amused, and also sad.
Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, early December 2013