All I want to do is sleep. I'm aware this could mean I'm avoiding myself.

I take my time wiping the kitchen table with a sponge. Regret skirts around the sour milk glasses from the night before.

Behind the curtains, the clouds are breaking up. Earlier, in the dark, I decide conditions are unfavorable. LA has been blowing like the east coast for two days. I stay home to stir the oatmeal and toast the bread.

After the kids leave for school, I swear I see a small, dark shadow pass through the front door. It cuts along the wall like a frightened animal looking for cover. I have my coat on now and application of sunscreen that makes my face look wicked.

The are days when I can only see the trash. Orange cones caution against contact with the sick and the injured. I visit with a bloated raccoon who is flat on its back. His front teeth are missing. I've come to know the anatomy of a sea bird. There are sixteen vertebrae in a Cormorant's neck. The neck feathers are the first to fall off. Here's another, hogtied in fishing line, taking its last breath. The men in blue help a disoriented sea lion successfully launch. I remove my shoes so I can feel the shards of tumbled plastic we are feeding our fish.

There is a funny little hairpiece sitting on top of the Santa Monica Mountains. The mother is getting old.

That evening, I examine the evidence from my morning walk; a light bulb, a headless nail, a sardine can and a bright red sand toy in the shape of a bridge. I'm resting on my elbow walking two fingers over the bridge, when my daughter interrupts me. She crawls up on my bed and asks me if you have problems when you're dead.

She thinks the spirit world is colored gray, a place with broken down houses and poor people.

The porcelain girl in the striped bathing costume kicking her heels up at the shore is from a different era.

I find my wedding band in the crisper. My suspicions were correct, the ring went missing
when I picked the lemons. I must have clawed the grass under that tree a dozen times. I searched the branches too, envisioning the noble metal caught in a snag, now trembling.

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