It is officially summer, the reading program at the local library is in swing. I've bundled the kids off to collect an interesting assortment of books to keep them reading. My stack was bigger than theirs however as I picked up books that I know I must have read but can't remember reading (Atwood's A Handmaiden's Tale). I was sorely disappointed by the ending and felt furious about the "Underground FrailRoad" which one of the speakers so blandly jokes about. I also picked up (and have read already, as grad school does teach one to read full steam) her novel The Blind Assassin. And Willa Cather's My Antonia with its passionate view of the prairie life and the grand American Dream of owning and working the land.
Also, Gary Snyder's Axe Handles which I remember reading and enjoying the title poem and the poem about the deer and soy sauce, which as I check is actually titled "Soy Sauce."
The Best Day The Worst Day by Donald Hall was a bit harder on me. I haven't been able to read his poems that deal with the loss of Jane (Kenyon) and the prose account was wrenching in that I can relate perhaps too closely for comfort. Not the best book to read during the week I'm getting my chemo treatments, but sometimes it helps to hear how others have borne what at times seems unbearable. I haven't had The Worst Day, the one where it all comes to an end and hope is snuffed out like a votive candle in the wind.
I still trudge off to the appointments and the blood draws and hide under the covers when the drugs draw a pall between me and this world. Other days, life continues as normal, there are no visiting hours, there is no hall pass, the family must be fed, the dog let in and out. The ants visit. The grackles make their nest near my window and wake me before daylight. At times, I am crepe paper in the rain. Other days, hard clay.