Peaceable Kingdom


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Peaceable Kingdom

Zoomorphic figures abound in the numerous sculptures and paintings on my shelves, tables and walls, and also around the pool where Morrie, Diego and Zoe take turns being the center of attention. Morrie’s stardom will always involve a ball being tossed—either into the water or down to the garden level below the pool. Zoe’s will involve rigorous play activities with either Diego or whichever human strays into her territory. Diego’s will involve interaction with Zoe, since she was thrust into his life suddenly upon my return from the beach two months ago.

We have formed a colony—Zoe, Diego, Morrie, my visiting cousin Kirk and I. The pith of our union is three-and-a-half-month-old puppy Zoe, who blithely goes about doing her mischievous business. Even the cats put up with her like saints. Her biting, chewing, jumping, yipping, purloining of cat food and general puppyness is tolerated by all. The cats have been known to join Zoe and me in bed. Diego watches her like a hawk, shielding her from dangers. Morrie occasionally yields his ball to her—a huge concession for his one-track mind to make. It strains credulity that he would surrender his most treasured object to anyone other than a human ready to throw it for him to retrieve.

For the last two days, I have been a martyr to amoebas and today I have finally given in and gone to bed. From my bed of pain, I can see their reflections in the pool and hot tub. Diego is positioned parallel to the edge of the pool on his stomach like a reclining Anubis, but with front legs crossed. Morrie is sitting on haunches on his grass throne in a large flower pot adjacent to the pool. He chews on his beloved tennis ball, not bothering to drop it into the pool for Kirk to throw for him as Kirk is for the moment absent—gone to liberate a pepperoni pizza from the oven.

Zoe lies on the thin ledge between the hot tub, its water still too hot to enter, and the cooler pool, which Kirk exited a half hour or so ago. If Kirk were here, he would worry, calling her away from the water that streamed  boiling hot into the hot tub from mineral springs twelve hours ago, but two months of observation have taught me that she knows its dangers—knows how to test its temperature with her nose without actually touching the water.

Now cousin Kirk momentarily casts his reflection into first the hot tub, then the pool, as he passes with pizza fresh from the oven, his plate held high to repel curious noses and hungry jaws. The canine and feline segments of our conclave were fed hours ago. The pizza is all his as I feel as though I’ll never want to eat again. The coral of the sunset sky is slowly fading to gray and the cicadas that the locals call rain birds are continuing their late afternoon/early evening chorus, signaling that the rainy season will begin in approximately 40 days. It will be Zoe’s first experience with rain. Will she try to chase each raindrop or to capture the circular swirl of water rushing down the drain on the terrace? Will she quake at the house-jarring bolts of lightning and cracks of thunder? Always a new thrill for a puppy just three and a half months old. And always a new center of interest for those of us who watch her.

The attitudes and responses of the cats five times her size when I first brought her home will be the topic of another conversation. At present, one curls to my side and the other one between my feet as I lie on the bed, knees bent into a vee to support my laptop. Suffice it to say that for the moment, this is a peaceable kingdom, a mutual-admiration society (except for the antagonism between the two bigger dogs and two cats) and I am well-pleased with all company present, hoping they are equally well-pleased with me.

For Day fifteen of NaPoWriMo, we are to write a poem about something we have absolutely no interest in. For some reason, I started out thinking that was what I was talking about, then strayed into the topic below which is exactly the reverse of the suggested topic. Since it is the first time in the nine years I’ve been writing a poem a day for NaPoWriMo that I’ve strayed from the suggested prompt, I’m giving myself permission to stray this one time and instead using the five prompts from my usual prompt sites. I’ve been gone all day and now that I’m home, the electricity has been going off every few minutes for the past hour. Grrr. Gotta get this posted while I can.

Prompts today are colony, zoomorphic, credulity, pith and reflection.

And HERE is Kirk’s version of his afternoon. The dogs love him and it is reciprocated.


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