#writerinchains Post 11:07am

Prairie Dog

I tell my daughter things. Like this: this is how we filter the water from the river. This is how we fasten the hip belt and the sternum strap—these keep the weight distributed on our bodies. Or now, for example. Right now on the carpet we are playing Monopoly. She is six years old and me here, old, I remember: two five hundreds, the bright orange ones, two one hundreds, two fifties, six twenties (green). She passes out the money. I tell her: it’s better to own property than to hold onto cash. Try to buy all four railroads. And right then, right there on the carpet, playing Monopoly in the middle of winter, I smell fresh tomatoes. Hot soil and fresh mown grass. Grandpa used to serve me sliced tomatoes and eggs over easy. Salt and pepper. Tomatoes fresh out of the hot Ohio yard. Grandpa in the kitchen, Grandma there at the table with a paper towel folded in fourths under her coffee cup. An opened pink packet of sweetener next to the cup, that too folded just so. The sound of her spoon stirring, Grandpa in the kitchen. The way they used to tell me things. Maybe it was them, told me about buying the railroads. There I am on the carpet, I owe my daughter rent already for St. James place, and My Grandpa, his garden. Here he is. The entire purpose of his garden was tomatoes. I remember the straight line where the sifted dark soil met the trim green grass. Kneeling on the grass there, reaching past the spiky white blossoms for a ripe tomato. Helping. And the way my Grandpa now, dead as he is, has a permanent place in me. How he gets to stand up on his hind legs suddenly, like a curious prairie dog, and remind us about the railroads.

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