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  • Writer's pictureAnne Mitchell


Life will not always go your way. The bees will disappear from the hive in your garden and your orange Tomcat will wander off to die without leaving a note. A Monster Truck will cut you off in the roundabout - the driver gives you the finger as the coffee tips over in your lap when you brake. Your husband will give up and fall into the ex-wife’s arms, the one he fought for 8 years to leave, for you. Or your wife will disappear with the checkbook and the Tesla saying she’s tired of living in lack. The other cat, the non-confrontational Norwegian long hair, will get another bite in the ass from the neighbor’s Russian Blue, forcing you to hot compress the puss out from the quarter-sized wound to avoid another vet bill. Your mother will befriend Fox News and breach acceptable levels of ornery before she passes,

long after your father. Never mind how often you cleanse with protein shakes and Chia seeds, breathe Qi Gong at dawn, both knees will need replacing, you’ll paste yellow stickies on mirrors to remember. If your daughter doesn’t learn to prioritize, meditate and unplug from social media, she’ll come home to anxiety on the bedside table next to cold water compresses and a brown paper bag-panic attacks.

There’s a character from the Ramayana named Semar who enters shadow puppet play whenever the world is in Goro Goro or chaos. He is old and fat and has only one tooth. Yet he is the wizened clown who connects the cosmic and the everyday, through lightening and laughter. So here’s the spell, the throbbing surf, the cactus in your heart. You will hate your job, Your hair will fall out or turn white. You will tumble off the stone wall while weeding and wonder who will find you in the dandelion pile. You will be alone. But oh how Semar’s belly jiggles when you guffaw alongside absurdity, and reach for the gold fountain pen.

after Ellen Bass' "Relax"


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