She’s planted grass again, your mother. Now she’s lying out there, making angels in bright, green springiness. So you go out too since she’s laughing, since maybe this time she won’t narrow her eyes.
It’s warm. Ground under your back, sun behind a cloud so you can look, heart open at the blue. Your arms make wings but your legs clench together. It stings in between.
What The Boy did.
Your hands, your mother’s, they brush as they pass in their angel-making. You wait for her to pull away but…not this time, this time she smiles. Another pass, hands brush again. And again.
It’s silly and wonderful, the smell you’re raising from the fresh blades. Squeezed lemons, sweet hay.
Another chance. If only you didn’t feel the bulge under your back. The rumble under the soil. No no no no no no no.
It wants out.
You roll towards your mother. She thinks you want a hug, and how surprised you are
that she gives in; her arms loose then tight, just tight enough around your small, dew damp back.
But then: hairless, pointed snout rooting up, mounds of black soil churning, churning. She screams. You are cast away.
Your mother on her knees, slapping at the dirt, at the thing, as she calls it. Forcing it back—“ A mole,” you want to say. “It’s just a mole.”—but she is shrieking and slapping and that garish green scent is everywhere and it’s not fresh. It’s distress, it’s defense.
“This is what happens when something is hurt!” You want to say.
You could pull the mole out. Cradle it in your arms. The velvet brown fur might feel soft. Maybe it snorts, softly. Maybe it’s tired of being alone.
Or maybe you stand and stomp on the black mound. You do as your mother says and you get the seeds. Hold your breath with hope that your hand again may brush hers as you bury and bury and bury.
Lisa Mecham writes a little bit of everything and her work has appeared in The New York Times Tiny Modern Love and Roxane Gay’s anthology “Not That Bad,” among other publications. A Midwesterner at heart, Lisa lives in Los Angeles where she’s finishing a book about mental illness in the suburbs.