# The War

Try as much as I can try not to be I, nevertheless, I would mind that so much . . . said the oats to the water . . . which was working up to a boil . . . See, I said . . . to my daughter . . . Even oats . . . even oats maybe mind the boil . . . mind becoming oatmeal . . . For there was a small matter . . . Oleg had sent me a letter . . . I was to become . . . under Oleg’s orders . . . an angel . . . But we were late for school . . . We should be frantically . . . fossicking . . . but no, not if I was . . . dying . . . always late . . . I AM TO BECOME . . . I announced to her . . . before breakfast . . . AN ANGEL PRESENCE . . . I sugarcoated it . . . an angel who will bread your house . . . with lily dust . . . Why would I need lily dust . . . You’ll know when you’re an adult . . . Oleg . . . due any minute . . . I was telling her how I’d be . . . constantly . . . crossing over . . . to visit her . . . She asked . . . Will I know who you are? . . . Well not at first . . . No . . . But I am sure you will always be gracious . . . She was questioning things . . . very . . . worldlily . . . which sounds like she was making the world’s weight . . . into a delicate petal . . . of flower cellulose . . . but no . . . just . . . worldly is what she is . . . was . . . Once . . . when you were thirty-two . . . and in that attic apartment . . . and you . . . well . . . I understood . . . And you were cold . . . And I kissed your head . . . The top of it . . . In order to smell your hair . . . Mom don’t smell my head . . . I’m not even eight yet . . . Right . . . Yes . . .

I must have been having a nucleolytic episode . . . in which I foresaw . . . Mom . . . I heard her . . . I was still there but already . . . in the . . . underbelly . . . ? I was thinking of a lovely girl I knew . . . Last name De Flamand . . . she once wrote a lovely piece . . . about the world daffodil . . . and the difference . . . between yellow and yellowy . . . Mom . . . How nice it was going to be . . . to fit in . . . the underneath . . . or overhead . . . what have you . . . happily! . . . It was all coming to a sharp point . . . Had to get back to the present . . . for a moment . . . See . . . I said to my daughter . . . See . . . Even oats mind becoming oatmeal . . . We were staring down into the saucepan . . . my daughter in my arms . . . we played Taps . . . on our lips . . . in honor of the oats . . . I was present for that peculiarly sad moment . . . and still am . . . afterward . . .
Darcie Dennigan, “The War” from Madame X. Copyright © 2012 by Darcie Dennigan. Reprinted by permission of Canarium Books.
Source: Madame X (Canarium Books, 2012)
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