The brown butcher paper it was wrapped in said MADONNA AND CHILD. Which an art evaluator, hired to offload uncomfortable mnemonics would say. Being scientists, my family was never religious, in obvious ways. I always assumed this was me and mom, as infantile memories were erased by developmental stages, this held a mystic hue, the safety of woman as god. If I needed a reminder, my younger brother, for a while, anchored the remembrances of embraced ever-growing expansion. I learned the opposite, as you can clearly see, from my all-American grandparents and their puritan brutality of separation, their reenvisioning of the child as a kenneled-animal. Although I must thank them for introducing me to the caustic ecstatic rebellion hitched to the taste of soap washing away the taking of their punishing lord’s name in vain. Also, occasionally, the Preacher comes to the fore with his hard-won survivalist righteousness — It has served both Dr. Con and myself well. Jesus-fucking-Christ! It feels good, doesn’t it? If there was a side to be taken, for me, the choice was clear. I remember waking in my Latvian grandparent’s shared bed, afraid of the cloying dark, comforted by the genetic funk of old bodies and stale cigarettes. Short Days were filled with laughter and teachable moments: softboiled eggs, sparklers beneath pines on mirrored snow reflecting crisp stars, and rescuing a baby bird with a broken wing and the desperate bottomless sadness when it died. On the American-mutt side of family-feudal mostly anger and enigmatic separate beds. A funkless space filled with flowery talcum powders cut with astringent antiseptics. Although to be fair, there was turkey and gravy and potatoes. Children were never allowed to have white meat. Ahh, the faux gaminess of connective tissue. All houses, regardless of heredity have odd angles and crooked geometries. Some view them with fear, for me, I believe we would never learn to escape without them.
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