A journal of narrative writing.
Stomping the Beaver Palace

Water flows down the mountain into a clawfoot tub in the cellar, where I circle a skunk curled up in the furnace and a half-blind vole feasting on a plate of poisoned wheat. Sometimes the water pipe jutting out of fieldstone seizes up in winter, sometimes the World War II water heater pilot blows itself out, or I get the urge to watch the groundthaw in April purl into a sump pump buried in a coal-studded floor, scrape my skull against a square-head nail pounded into a beam a century and a half ago by the farmer who hollowed out a future in unobliging soil and aim my flashlight into the crawlspace, where a predator made furious meal of a mourning dove. I crawl in and twig to how it feels to orbit a planet in a tin can. From this eye socket perch, I press my palm to the light like a fortuneteller revealing the red- shadowed future of my bones, turn it off to see myself in the dark execute a buck and wing on the mud-and-stick tiled roof of a beaver palace, then slap and dive toward the entrance into the catacomb. Upstairs, and still bristling at my refusal to attend courses in synchronized breathing and belly-dancing, my wife spears the blackened remnants out of the toaster, our child, upside-down and floating inside her, ready to scream.

reprinted from Ghost Wrestling, David R. Godine, ©1997 by Roger Weingarten.