Sandy Gingras

My son is a roll of duct tape

It happened gradually.
First, he was just trying to fix a hole
in the sole of his Uggs,
then he was patching his bike tire
with a kind of tourniquet,
then he was attaching a flashlight
to his boat instead of running lights.
Every day, he jerry-rigged something.
One day, he rolled down to breakfast,
and I thought he’s not a kid anymore.
You know how that happens.

I don’t know why he turned out this way.
Maybe I spoiled him.
Or it could be his whole generation
that’s like this.
One of his friends is a can of WD-40.
I know his mother despairs of his loose attitude.
I should be grateful I’m not the mother
of the boy who became packing peanuts.

This morning, my son’s windshield
shattered when he was going to the WaWa
for coffee. I don’t really know what happened.
He’s close-mouthed as you can imagine.
I never get the full story.
He’s outside in the driveway now
trying to fix it. See how hard he’s trying?
I have to give him credit
for applying himself.
“Bring it to the auto shop,” I yell out to him.
“Do it right for once.” There’s duct tape all over
the windshield. “How are you going to see ahead?”
He just smiles at me.

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Backpacking

One of the women decided to jog
up the side of the mountain because she thought walking wasn’t
hard enough. The other one hung back with me and wanted
to sing songs from The Sound of Music.
I trudged along the vertical rocky path, slippery with
leaves, almost tipping over backwards from the weight
I was carrying. How could hummus and a sleeping bag
be this heavy? Doe, a deer, a female deer, the one who was with me sang,
a little breathless because she’d just given up smoking.

The woman who said she’d meet us at the top was
the only one who knew anything about backpacking.
She had a compass. She told us to just follow
the path. But soon, the woods seemed like
many paths, and then, like no path at all.
The singer started telling me how her husband was
in bed. Experimental, she called it. I just concentrated
on one step and then another, trying to keep my balance.
I thought about how, when I got home, if I ever got home,
I’d treat myself to a car detailing.

Meanwhile, up ahead, the other woman was
rappelling off the mountainside for fun. I just knew it.
I imagined her falling backwards and breaking her leg.
Then I’d have to carry her down the mountain somehow.
She would be really heavy because muscle weighs a lot.
With every step, I’d hate her more. See what happens?
The other woman would be singing the whole time
about how the hills were alive.

But, when we got to the top, we found the jogger building
a fire. The singer took pita bread out of her pack,
and we sat on the edge of a cliff eating
and practicing yodeling. Our voices echoed
loud off the cliffs and hung in the valley.
Then we went to sleep. The whole night, I imagined bears
eating the tent and me. When I wasn’t doing that,
I was wondering how many calories I burned.
Five hundred more than usual, I thought.
Five fifty counting the yodeling.

 


Sandy Gingras is the author and illustrator of twenty-six books. She also wrote two mystery novels, Swamped and Beached (Deadly Niche Press). Beached won the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger Award in 2012. Her poetry and memoir pieces have been published in New Ohio Review, and her chapbook Not Even Close to What She Planned On was published by Diode Editions. She designs stationery and gift products for several companies and owns two retail stores. She lives with her husband, son and Golden Retriever on an island six miles off the coast of New Jersey.