Fleas are feasting on
our ankles. Eucalyptus branches are piled thick under our beds to discourage
them, yet the fleas have conquered. Both dogs are
biting themselves sick. On my way outside to feed the turtle after school
almost trip on an empty shell. Screaming, I run inside. Ralph is gnawing
the itch on his rear. He backs himself into a corner near the aprons, exhales
dry staccatos, nuzzles the wall. Bad Ralph! I scream. This was
the third turtle.
Before bed Jamie, the little mutt, tickles like tall grass near my ankles.
Im itching madly, ready to tear off my own skin. I think about the
turtle shells and a shiver gets stuck inside my brain.
I wonder how much longer well live here in this house with an adequate
yard. We move to a new house almost every year. Sometimes I forget which school
Im in and confuse the names of my teachers. I pray instead of playing
marbles at recess.
Mom buys and sells houses for a big company. Shes an ethical realtor.
Shes good at what she does in the office. She got a mug at Christmas
that says Thanks. But still we don't have our own house—one
we can keep.
I'll wake up and Ma will start in about the dogs. She'll call them criminals.
seen the way she looks at them desperately—as though they are symptoms
Yet, in the winter, once we've all stopped itching, Ralph will surround my
shoulders with his paws. I'll call him my love, recite lines
and Juliet to him. Mas face will pink with color. Shell get her camera. Well
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