Hat Full of Fog
When Grampa checked the traps, he found a muskrat’s paw and when the
missionaries came, he put it in their donation box. “What is a grand- mother supposed to
look like?” Grampa said. He asked for a name and he didn’t get one.
“I will protect myself with open doors and I will prevent loneliness by sleeping on
rooftops,” said Grampa, “and I will listen to the bricks when they have fallen from their
long quiet sermons on certainty.”
“After illusion, there’s nothing but a hat full of fog.” Jalopy had just discovered this
and Jalopy was crying. She was holding herself in like a glass of something thick and
sweet, and she was trying not to spill what she hadn’t tasted yet. She was waiting for life
to reveal itself. She had waited a long time. She was looking around for something to
hold herself up to. She was almost there, almost to where she was at that moment, next to
the next memory, when one of the animal skins floating in the curing vat reminded her of
her granddaughter’s shawl.
Jalopy sucked her breath and Jalopy burbled and Jalopy turned her head to avoid
the irritating noise and dragged her long hair across the curing vat. Jalopy’s raven tresses
were really golden curls streaked with gray.
Grampa witnessed and Grampa huffed. Grampa patted Jalopy on the head. Poor
girl. Huffed some more.
Which pissed her off royally. Could have stayed home with her daughter if she
wanted that shit.
“We’re both looking up and the thing we’re watching seems to be the sky and it
could be the same one,” thought Grampa. “There’s a power in saying no but a greater one
in saying nothing,” thought Grampa, “but my thinking about her might be meddling with
her thinking about me.”
Grampa took the pelts to the possibility exchange, and along the way he decided to
marry Jalopy. The night felt so clammy and humid he could have been traveling inside a
fish. He dipped his hat into the fog and carried it carefully, as if it might spill if he were
ever to attempt to wear it again.
Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.