Tuesday, March 1, 2016

March 1: Killer Whale, Scars, Matthew Gavin Frank, "For Weather"

Finally, Paul Siple, the Antarctic explorer and scientist, writes of the Antarctic crab-eater seal, which lives in the pack ice off the continent:  "One seldom finds a sleek silver adult crab-eater that does not bear ugly scars--or two-foot long parallel slashes--on each side of its body, received when it managed somehow to wriggle out of the jaws of a killer whale that had seized it."

Dillard writes about close calls.  Crab-eater seals that somehow elude the jaws of killer whales.  Well, actually, they don't elude killer whales.  They somehow escape from them.  Imagine the opening scenes of Jaws, when the naked woman has her close encounter with Bruce the shark.  Now, imagine the naked woman out-kicking or out-swimming or out-thrashing Bruce and becoming a Playboy centerfold (when Playboy still had centerfolds) instead of brunch.

Of course, the crab-eaters don't escape harm.  They are scarred for life.  I think everyone who reaches a certain age bears scars.  I have them.  My killer whales have been mental illness, addiction, finances, and Donald Trump, to name a few.  Killer whales are simply a part of life.  I've faced killer whales at school, work, my home. 

Right now, my killer whale is professional.  For the last several weeks, I have been struggling at my job.  It's a matter of motivation and enthusiasm.  I have neither right now.  I've just been passed up in the medical office where I work for yet another promotion.  I've applied for another position, and I think I've missed out on that one, as well.  Therefore, I'm a little . . . scarred.

I told my wife the other day that I feel a little unappreciated.  I work hard.  Every day.  I do my best, try to remain positive all the time.  My supervisors tell my how much they love my attitude.  "You're always so happy," a coworker said to me last week.  This week, I'm struggling to find a smile.  I've been faking it--and fooling almost everyone.

That's my current killer whale defense:  smiling, no matter what.  It doesn't necessarily put me in a better state of mind, but it keeps people from asking difficult questions like "is something wrong?" and "are you alright?"  People don't want honest answers.

So, Saint Marty has been smiling a lot this week.  A lot.

For Weather

by:  Matthew Gavin Frank

The diner is closed today
for weather, a paper sign

on the door, the parking lot
unplowed, the trains

derailed at Mason City
because of the ice.  That noise

could have been deer
folding into the fields

while the Monticello
Boys Choir sang

in the auditorium
about messenger angels.  But what

is ceremony without coffee,
pancakes wet with butter,

frozen blueberries, spatulas
greased with this morning's

eggs, while someone crouches
outside in corn, hiding prayer

beneath her blue sweatshirt,
the whispers of farm

against farm, conspiring
to unzip Illinois?

The same man who
discovered margarine

named his daughter
after a white flower.

In the south garden,
bearing his name, the cows

lose their legs in deep snow,
eating down to the exhausted grass

and the frozen lowing things
that uphold it.  In this,

we find our can openers
and turn the heat so high,

the air filling with such expectation
it could be the new year.

Speaking of sharks and killer whales . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment