09/28/2021

Timothy Boudreau ~ We Dream, We See Dragonflies

Green & Blue

Two insects thin-limbed as grasshop­pers with but­ter­fly wings, one spring­time green, one fairy­tale blue, flut­ter, flick­er, land on your fin­gers in the sun-spilled kitchen. You stand beside the win­dow with the insects on your fin­gers. They seem to sense the sun; they lift their heads to watch your sis­ter out­side, rid­ing her bike.

Your dad is alive in this one: he puts his hand on your shoul­der, looks out the win­dow with you. He smiles at the insects (they’re noth­ing you’ve seen before in real life) when they dis­ap­pear through the glass into the sky.

 

A Visitation

Dad are you okay? Are you feel­ing bet­ter? We were so wor­ried.” You lose your words, but that’s fine, for God’s sake take him in your arms, who knows when you’ll get anoth­er chance. Maybe he’s alive, he’s up and around but he still looks pale. When you hug him you have to bend down, he’s not a tall man. “Dad, I love you. I love you. Dad? Please don’t leave us again.”

He looks at you, his pale eyes quiver; he nev­er says anything.

 

9–1‑1

Where’s the body?”

He’s on the snowbank.”

What posi­tion is it—”

We’re not mov­ing him. Hey—don’t move him!”

What posi­tion is the body in?”

He’s face­down. His face is down in the snow.”

You have to turn the body over.”

What, I don’t…”

Somebody has to turn the body over immediately.”

Oh fuck.”

If he’s still alive he may suffocate.”

Oh my Jesus.”

Has any­one even checked to see if he’s alive?”

 

The Pocket Watch

There’s no rea­son in the world that watch should’ve worked. You know how many times I wound that thing, tried to get it to start?”

I know.”

I don’t even know why I took it out of the safe. But I wound it and it start­ed run­ning imme­di­ate­ly.”

It’s like that thing with the clock. Why would it fall off the wall after twen­ty-five years? It wasn’t like there was a wind or anything.”

That watch ran all day the day of the funeral.”

I know.”
“And the next day it stopped and when I wound it, it didn’t start again.”

It’s like Mom sens­ing some­one on the edge of the bed, watch­ing her sleep. She final­ly had to tell him, ‘I love you Honey, but it’s time for you to go. Just don’t for­get we’re still down here, okay?’”

 

What They Mean

On your dad’s birth­day your mom sees one over her back lawn. Darting, div­ing; dis­ap­pear­ing behind the hedge, again return­ing. She sits with a glass of red wine, anoth­er, a third. As she watch­es the apple tree’s shad­ows length­en, thrush, robins and spar­rows sing. When you sit beside her she tells you about it: how it danced and dove; how it glis­tened, its wings reflect­ing the fad­ing sun­light; its mean­ing, its message.

 

The Performance

At the din­ner before the per­for­mance the men are all in shirts and ties, the ladies in evening wear. Your table sits eight; you don’t know the oth­er peo­ple there. You and your sis­ter laugh, share inside jokes, sit close.

I know what you two are up to,” your dad says.

What are you saying?”

I know why you’re laugh­ing so much. You’re doing those drugs.

The per­for­mance is a three-act play in a clas­sic the­atre: gold leaf, red vel­vet cur­tains, no pop­corn or drinks allowed. In the final act a famous actress makes a cameo as God. When the Lord enters the stage the audi­ence is ecsta­t­ic. Your dad’s pale eyes glis­ten with tears.

 

Dragonflies

Dragonflies dart in and out of the sun­light, seem to air-dance along its edge. Green, pur­ple, metal­lic blue, glassy hints as they catch the sun. You walk with your sis­ter and your mom back down the pond trail to your car, which is also in the sun. You get in the car, drink more water, are in no hur­ry to leave. You roll down the win­dows and put on your dad’s favorite music. You sing along.

~

Timothy Boudreau’s recent work appears at Ellipsis, X‑R-A‑Y, Riggwelter and Retreat West. His col­lec­tion Saturday Night and oth­er Short Stories is avail­able through Hobblebush Books. Find him on Twitter at @tcboudreau or at timothyboudreau.com.