by Gerry Sarnat
After more than thirty-five years, I fell out of love with upstairs of our beloved family home, a comfy cabin in virginal forest above Stanford where we raised two girls, one boy and theirs.
While aging body became massively disabled from crumbling chalky vertebrae (too much hilly running) plus sour spinal stenosis requiring cane or walker, I stayed totally on the ground floor.
My wife figured out putting refrigerator/freezer well as tiny microwave in what had alternately been number three (unanticipated) newborn kid’s quarters which previously was a laundry hutch…
Our adult kids joshed about the funky kitchen tucked down in original utility room with built-in now-defunct sauna and shower stall; I ate there post microwaving gruel during which machine-washed, dried, didn’t fold exercise clothes etcetera.
We’ve largely abandoned upstairs’ posh, fully-equipped/stocked modern facilities for ground floor’s ex-laundry area reno that accommodates beery guys’ meet-ups plus also holds my exercycle well as five dry breakfast cereals and Mr. Coffee on an infants’ finger-painting table under which I stash pricey unseasonable honeydew plus cantaloupe in reusable Trader Joe’s insulated zippered blue tote bags underneath so rats can’t get at ‘em like when left naked on 1969 linoleum where a trash can unhinged drips rinds into rusted drains which cover captures solids not oozings.
BTW did I say this place once served as newborn nursery, still has baby dinosaur wallpaper?—gosh, scene finally got attention of financial advisors who asked each and every grandkid/kid—perhaps Dad’s gone certified nuts off the rails crazy or at least become very Pynchon
Sick, but while waiting maybe fucked [pardon moi’s French] consensus sic family office staff on us (wife porously co-dependent with siccle [sic] anemia Macintosh spellcheck always got wrong), oy to see if publicists can kibosh plus estate lawyers quash rumors their good ol’ boy tiny client stole toy cooking utensils from next door’s play space, torqued ‘em flush to a toy minifridge cold as witch’s tit containing mainly novelty nosh items plus paper/ plastic products including bags to lug dirty real china-silver into dishwasher above; alongside sealed containers to keep out mice on open-air ply shelves across from 72 years’ tchotchkes and luggage I broke with various rodent contraptions, a decomposing pigeon beneath these makeshift Cabinets of Heed.
I got pretty comfy with such until during rainy season various armies of ants gradually took everything dry over including wet garbage can I had to put outside to freeze ‘em to death – but drawn to the smell of their dead, they then returned with a vengeance.
…During two years of basic fed-then-bed gloom, interrupted by all manner of procedures including sequential hip replacements, it did not occur oy to try to get up 17 steps to living room or kitchen.
That is ‘til yesterday when after gradually growing stronger both physically and psychologically, poof suddenly Ger resumed cooking good food up there with an enthusiasm he had never ever enjoyed before.
It’s totally unexpected, falling back in love with spaces so meaningful to us, but now I proceed to go down to borrow—peppers avocado tomatoes for best omelet ever—from some vaguely familiar rejuvenated neighbor.
Gerry Sarnat MD’s won the Poetry in Arts First Place Award/Dorfman Prizes; has been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards; authored HOMELESS CHRONICLES (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016). He’s widely published including recently by academic-related journals Stanford, Oberlin, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, American Jewish University, Brown, Columbia, Sichuan, Canberra, University of Chicago as well as New Ulster, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, American Journal Of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, LA Review of Books, San Francisco Magazine and New York Times. Mount Analogue selected KADDISH for distribution nationwide Inauguration Day. His poetry was chosen for a 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. Learn more at gerardsarnat.com