Mustard Seeds Vol. 30

Dead Skin. Part 9 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings   A Diagram of Aunt Lucinda’s House There are three steps leading up to a door that does not face the street. This immediately sets the house apart from society. It is uninviting—to say the least. There is no garage and the driveway is blocked by wet and sagging items—which would have been stored in a garage if there was one—so the car is parked in the street. The tires are flat and the roof is white-washed by years of direct sunlight. The house is brick and might … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 30

Mustard Seeds Vol. 29

Dead Skin. Part 8 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings   Do Rotten Bananas Peel? I waited until I saw Aunt Lucinda’s car parked along the roadside before I started back toward the house. The entire street was eerily still and silent. I stood on the front steps, gathering some courage before pushing the door open. I peered around the corner, and was relieved to see Uncle Roland had disappeared from the end of the couch. I stepped inside and closed the door, leaving my shoes in the entryway. I stepped into the living room and froze. The … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 29

Mustard Seeds Vol. 28

Dead Skin. Part 7 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings   Where the Crow Flies That summer I sat across from Uncle Roland, on one of the sagging brown chairs and watched him pretend to be alive. Sometimes I would retreat into the kitchen, only to spy on him through the pocket door that I would intentionally leave open—just a crack. When Aunt Lucinda had gone to the YMCA for spinning class one day, I finally worked up the courage to tell him the truth. “Uncle Roland.” I stood at the end of the couch opposite the TV. … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 28

Mustard Seeds Vol. 27

Dead Skin. Part 6 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings   Enjoy the Moment If Uncle Roland had any ritualistic tendencies, they were these; he watched sporting events on television with the volume turned down low and the closed captions on; he drank a glass of red wine with dinner and afterward a dark beer; he went to bed at precisely nine thirty p.m. Someone might say Uncle Roland liked red meat, as he seemed to order steak every night we went out. However, watching Roland eat was a truly disturbing experience. The same can be said for … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 27

Mustard Seeds Vol. 26

Dead Skin. Part 5 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings   I Think I’ll Go Home I had, at a very young age, become acutely aware that Uncle Roland never made it through an entire family function. Whether it was a wedding reception or a quick Sunday dinner, he left before it even made sense for him to have come at all. His usual guise was a sporting event which he could not record. Sometimes it was a bout of illness. If he could not walk home from where he was, he would take the car, leaving Aunt … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 26

Mustard Seeds Vol. 25

Dead Skin. Part 4 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings   When is it Time to Let Go? People who have not experienced the living dead cannot understand the phenomenon. They shrug it off and overlook it, but one day they will encounter someone who makes their brows furrow, without even speaking. Someone who’s company always leaves them in need of a good nap. Someone who’s presence makes the hair on the back of their neck stand on end. It is important not to offend the dead. It’s not their fault. They were born that way. But if … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 25

Mustard Seeds Vol. 24

Dead Skin. Part 3 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings   What it Means to be Dead Uncle Roland is not dead in a traditional sense. His heart beats, his blood flows and his chest moves almost imperceptibly. Inhaling. Exhaling. Uncle Roland talks occasionally, and walks occasionally, but he is very much dead. There is nothing behind his brown eyes. The energy he emits puts children to sleep, gives women chills, and makes grown men’s eyes roll to the back of their head as they yawn. It gives me an unbearable headache that no amount of excedrin can … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 24

Mustard Seeds Vol. 23

Dead Skin. Part 2 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings     A Diagram of the House’s Occupants Aunt Lucinda is my grandfather’s younger sister. She has let her hair go naturally gray. The ends are the same tired brown as her living room furniture and her tea stained smile. Her torso is pleasantly plump, although her legs seem not to have gotten the memo. She has been—lovingly—referred to as ‘an orange on toothpicks’. She has a cat named Mittens. It of course has black fur and white paws. Her husband, Uncle Roland, is a balding, beer-bellied man … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 23

Mustard Seeds Vol. 22

Dead Skin. Part 1 “Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.” – e.e. cummings   A Diagram of Aunt Lucinda’s House There are three steps leading up to a door that does not face the street. There is no garage and the driveway is blocked by items—which would have been stored in a garage if there was one—so the cars are parked in the street. The house is brick, and might have been considered stylish, or even ideal in the 1970s, but looks worn and tired now. The carpet inside the door is a faded red. The trim was once gold. The … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 22

Mustard Seeds Vol. 20

The Last? Unicorn Thunder, lightning, rain The unicorn paddled on in vain. For forty days she swam in pain. When the floods died down, She looked all around, But something was different. 40 days in the water, it seemed Had stolen the unicorn’s usual gleam. Sea sick and starving her skin had gone gray, It no longer glimmered at night or by day. It sloshed and it sagged, Her eyes became bagged, And as she lowered his head in deep shame– Her horn, well, it felt the same. It slid down to her toes. She placed it back on her … Continue reading Mustard Seeds Vol. 20