The Meadow Annual Literary Arts Journal 2019

Specimen Case Stephen Finlay Museums started out as the curio cabinets of the wealthy. I’ve been tagging. Tuesdays are catalog days. Get me drunk on Evan Williams and I can guide you through the finding aid. These specimens are shortlisted for the new exhibit in the east wing. Jim was the first one in his family to graduate college. I don’t know about Pam, but she had a pet goat growing up until a man came into the yard and slit its throat. Jim moved the whole family to Lawrence, Kansas to go to grad school and she never forgave him because he forgot to check whether they even had a graduate program there (they didn’t). They had a chicken named Granny Newfeathers that Pam pulled out of a trash pile behind an egg factory and her feet were too deformed to walk so Pam would put her on a roost every night and give her a baby chick to cuddle because Granny Newfeathers never got to raise her own babies. People made them all into omelets. Granny Newfeathers was killed by a weasel and Pam never forgave Jim for that either because blame finds its way like water, because blame is a well-worn footpath in the woods. Pam loved Faulkner but didn’t love the South and she loved Mamaw Hilda but hated Papaw Willy because Papaw never stopped Mamaw from beating her. Mamaw would hit her until she stopped crying and years after the cancer finished her off Pam still cried for Mamaw. And drank. Jim battled black widows one summer, Jim spent his childhood in a sanitarium and watched the boys in iron lungs. I was an accident. Pam never went back to work after her vacation in 1994. She loved spiders and had my sister and I collect insects to feed them. Jim really likes to go to Wal Mart and Jim builds birdhouses and bleeds easy. He watches more CNN than anyone on the planet. The last time I saw my mother I read Arthur Miller’s obituary aloud in the hospital. After a while, she never started drinking because she never stopped. Time only matters until you black out the windows and move through a house of boxes like a The Meadow 155