Nothing But Biography

I am an historian of small calamities. Today, I ignore a war
as I weed a row of heirloom beans. Yesterday, it was the broken parts
of a bird in a room I thought I kept locked. This is not two juncos trapped
in the head of a house. This is history, and, as evidence, listen

to the catís proud epileptic squall. She walks a ring around
a mouse that rotates in place, front legs snapped. I have flushed
the body and taken down the Britannica. Here it says that a town under siege
once lost its rats, and then its dogs, and finally its children. Iíve always been partial

to arithmetic, but I donít think they got it right Ė I think history happens
when weíre too tired to tell the truth. Tomorrow, Iíll walk a while
and put in some lily bulbs. Itís putting history on its head, these small acts
of anticipation. I will be forced to remember, my advantage over the cat,

who will sleep by my side and lick itself clean. Then, write in my diary
and finish The End of Beauty. Itís a balancing act: Iíve had people surprise me
with kindness, Iíve heard corn grow in the dark. The cat is finally asleep, but
thereís a sound downstairs. I have to stop now.

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