Posted by: alegra22 | November 6, 2011

accounted for

Outside, fireworks disintegrate in the night sky. The washing machine and dryer hum and rumble. They’ve been working nonstop since Dan phoned to tell me that the dreaded ‘nits’ had finally found their way to our children’s scalp. A day of writing transformed into a day of stripping bedding and cushions; my arms full of dirty laundry, my skin crawling with imaginary creatures. At one point I was convinced they were swinging from my eyelashes up into my eyebrows and scurrying along the curve of my spine, their language the scratchy itch of locusts, threatening to condemn my family to a neverending cycle of cleaning. I chased my nails along my scalp, digging, drawing lines,mapping out the distractions of my hours, leaving my hair follicles assualted and bewildered.

Tonight, I rest my head on Dan’s lap and hand him a brush. “Strand by strand,” I tell him. He runs his fingers through my hair long after we’ve determined that my scalp is mostly suffering from my imagination. I remember how, at the slightest hint of an itch, I used to come home from school and put my head on my father’s lap and demand that he search my head for bugs. I didn’t actually believe he would ever find anything, I just loved having him draw dividing lines across my skull, each hair on my head loved and accounted for.

Later, I will wake up to my daughter climbing into bed, wrapping my arm around her small body like a safety belt, her fingers stroking my arm as if she knows she can mesmerize me into obeying her will: Hold me, just like this. Don’t let go. My arm will eventually go numb. Joaquin’s feet will land in my face. When we wake, I will check through my daughter’s hair and find nothing sinister. I will kiss the top of her head and whisper, “You are perfect.”

The morning will carry me along a wave of details: animals to feed, leaves to sweep out of the pond, lunches to pack, children to dress. As I shake out a bedspread, watching its silver embroidery turn purple in the shifting light, I remember my dreams. A child lying still and breathless, turning pale blue, and then a needle plunging down, reviving her. Hundreds of tiny, golden cobras, their hoods like wings extending and collapsing as they chased me down. As the bedspread lands, I will feel a voice in my heart, a knowing in my bones, that no moment is lost, nothing is wasted, our dreams merge with the tasks of removing lint from dryers, wiping small hand prints from windows.

All of our moments are untangled, preened through, accounted for.

Every moment loved.



  1. Beautiful. I am glad it was only your imagination itching! And very nice how you tie this all in at the end with being untangled and accounted for.

    • I’m glad it was only in my imagination, too…although now we are on round #3 of cleaning the house because, well, it is a long story and it makes me itchy in the telling!

  2. Always beautiful. And those last couple of lines: that is what my entire book is about. That is the essence: dryer lint + dreams. xoxox

    • I can’t wait to hold your book in my hands…and pass it around xxx

  3. This one gave me chills, your dreams… You are a master of conveying those beautiful, perfect, loved moments–and each one brings us deeper into contact with our own truest selves, our hearts, our souls..and our connection with others.

  4. First off i’m going to stick with spell in them as ‘knits’ cause that’s how I use to spell them when I was younger! I love your metaphors. Knits are like the everyday problems that we all have. They get stuck in our head (literally) and sometimes we need others to come brush them out or at least satisfy our paranoia that they aren’t there at all, and we needn’t worry about them.

    And it’s even funnier too as we all know knits are transferred ‘usually’ from other people and it’s ‘usually’ people with clean hair that get them jumping all over them. Problem heads – Clean heads. Just saying.

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