I knew my daughters’ legs were painted white. I knew there was a pitcher of lemonade in the refrigerator. I knew their bedroom was empty.
I had a vision of my oldest daughter singing to a bear and the bear burst into tears. It was not quite like dreaming.
At sunrise my two daughters returned from hunting in the woods, carrying the carcass of a young bear. A boyfriend.
Its legs were bound together over a long, sagging branch and the girls struggled with the weight. Eldest daughter at the front, youngest behind. They seemed superhuman.
Are my daughters the type of girls who roast and eat their boyfriends?
They lowered the dead bear to the grass of the back lawn, clouds turning pink over them with the rising sun. They untied the bear’s legs.
“We stole him from the witch,” the youngest said.
“And killed him,” said the oldest over her shoulder. They walked off, into the garage.
A clear patch of sky to the west brought its good fortune to us. One star still hung there. And one star in the mouth of the bear. And a star in each of my two daughters.
What star spun inside me? I could remember once rocking each daughter in my arms. How, for each of them, I had a little song.
The oldest returned with a saw.
The youngest with a shovel.
I was like a distant planet. Perhaps Neptune.
“We’ll cut up our new boyfriend,” said the oldest, “and remake the world.”
“We’ll bury him in sacrifice to our virginity,” said the youngest.
The oldest looked slyly away.
They were going to put the bear’s heart beneath the sink; it would be our clock.
“And one paw at each corner of the yard,” I said, joining them. My daughters were as powerful as any witch. Or they were witches. They were going to enchant us, make a dream pass through our house one body at a time. What could I do but believe?
They would cut the bear into 12 parts. Each part would have a voice. Each voice would sing, and the song would protect us. It would continue on and on.
We would regenerate ourselves by singing it.
Colburn | 5