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Thursday, December 22, 2005


by Rochelle Ratner

And here she thought she was through with the drunken
bastards. One husband, buried with a full bottle at his side,
and two estranged sons. Why else would she move to a
retirement home when she's only in her early 70s, and
healthy? She'd mostly wanted a place she could turn her
lights out at midnight and not be awakened by frantic calls
or neighbors shouting. Those apple trees right outside her
window were an added attraction. Most years the apples
lasted well into December, some baked into pies, residents
picking others up from the ground and savoring them. But
the weather's been so bad this year – very hot to very cold,
almost overnight. And all that rain and wind. The apples
fell and just lay there, fermenting. It wasn't so bad, she
thought, that the moose came to enjoy those rotten apples,
not once but twice, sticking her head in an open window,
eyes glazed with that drunken stupor she knows only too
well. No, she wouldn't have even bothered reporting the
cow moose, it's just that the second time she brought her
calf along.

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage: