By Aviva Derenowski

Hear Me

“Why are you mad?” he pleaded mournfully.

His pain finally penetrated the veil of her perception,

Previously, she’d been focused only on her needs. But –

Did she want that existence?

No, She desired mutuality; she wanted to listen to his needs and yearnings.

So she enriched her reality;

One became two. Two distilled back into one.

And her anger died of inactivity.

Life and Death at the Pond

The pregnant cloud over the pond kept changing formations and was about to explode.

The duck in the pond was in dire danger through the rifle’s scope but oblivious under the cloud’s shade.

Noticing the hunter, I got up from my bench and threw a branch near the duck.

He dived. 

The hunter left the scene.

The duck came back afloat and got hit by a lightning bolt that descended from the cloud.

A stranger on the other side of the bench gaped and shuddered.

I buried my head between my shoulders and hurried away in shame.

I didn’t save the duck.

Going Home

The need for a child penetrated every atom of Mama Boa’s soul. She and Papa Boa got together in love and devotion. She prayed and cried and promised anything God might desire. Still, she remained barren. There was no meaning to her life. Her connection with Papa Boa wasn’t enough of a draw to stay alive.

Mama Boa walked into the Indian Ocean, and her fleshy toes stroked the sand. The water calmed her nervous calves. The little waves sparkled her knees and climbed up to her thighs. The water soothed her hands, and her skirt clung to her body. The ocean was up to her waist. Her toes moved deeper.

The reek of dead fish filled the air on the beach while she inhaled deeply the scent of the Indian Ocean. The smell got closer to her sensitive nostrils with each pace. The aroma was fresh and poignant, alive and forever present. She was on her way home to be with her Maker.

She kept her thin lips tight, and when she swallowed, she felt her anxiety building. The ocean palpitated against her mouth, and her tongue felt numb. She wondered what they ate in Heaven if they ate at all.

The sun was setting on the Indian Ocean. Nobody noticed the young two-legged Boa getting deeper and deeper in the water. The fishers cast their nets and showed each other their gains of dying fish.

“Splash,” the Indian Ocean whispered, again and again, crashing on her torso. Then there was a  profound silence. Nothing could penetrate it but the voice of God. When he had something to say, he wasn’t subtle. She heard His voice, ‘Go back; it’s not your time yet.’ So Mama Boa turned around, obeying His command.

As if in a trance, she heard Papa Boa crying while running toward her like mad, “Mama Boa! Mama Boa! We’ll find a way.” He hugged her, kissed her, and begged her never again to try taking her life. “We’ll find a way.” He kept murmuring his mantra.

She leaned her wet body on his muscular one and sobbed as if there was nobody else on the beach but them. “He told me to come back,” she said, “God told me it wasn’t my time.”

Papa Boa started laughing. “I knew the Old Man was on our side. He will help us find our son.” He closed his eyes and recited the Psalms, “Find solace in the Lord. He’s our Shepherd.”

They fell on their knees, on the cool sand, begging God to lead them to their son.

In the orphanage, Snakey felt his parents’ presence not far from the beach – he was to be their son.

Aviva Derenowski lives within walking distance from Silver Lake Park and the Hudson River. She enjoys watching ducks floating and seagulls soaring. She self-published three books, including Talking to my mother – 99 anecdotes in 2018.In 2021 she edited the anthology Celebrating Our Mothers. God is her senior partner.

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