Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Most of It by Mary Ruefle

Mary Ruefle has this baffling ability to get into human experience and give it a heartbeat, sincerely, rejuvenatingly (that's not a word?). She proves to capture a moment is one thing, to make it pulse is another thing entirely, extraordinarily.

From "A Half-Sketched Head"

Childhood Memories

There was a long silence during which he seemed to be struggling. Suddenly he looked up at her. "I wish to tell you as quickly as possible that when I was a boy it was my sole responsibility to feed the baby goats from a bottle containing their mother's milk. On one such occasion I managed to spill the goat's milk down my shirtfront--over which I should have been wearing a smock in the first place. And though I can't tell you why, I was wearing my best shirt: perhaps for the like of that alone I deserved to be punished. I went immediately to the washroom and began to rinse out the milk spots, using a large bar of my mother's soap, which was always in plentiful supply since she made it herself. And as I stood there it struck me--my mother's soap was goat's milk soap, with goat's milk I was trying desperately to erase goat's milk. That something could be its own remedy--though I did not then think in those terms--struck me as a rather serious joke. It was my first occasion of panic.

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