Paula Mae by Grey Johnson

A lamb lies on its side, legs stiff, hooves dirtied by bits of broken mortar. Its sculpted fur is stained with grime from the highway. Straight away, we set it upright upon its low, narrow pedestal. There are no trees or still waters here, and although close to the road, this place retains a special hush. We look for a water spigot and there is none. Across the highway is a house, so we take our bucket with us, and explain ourselves. We are given access to the faucet by the garage. Bleach, brushes, rags and a camera are in the trunk of the car.

We scrub for a long time in the strong sun, worrying if the bleach will ruin our baby lamb’s fur, and puffing from our effort while wishing for gloves. Eventually, we pour straight bleach over the baby’s coat, and by doing so finally gain the purity we seek. I take a picture of my husband, bending on one knee, with his hand on the baby’s gleaming back, smiling proudly with sad eyes. Our work is done. We wonder if we should have the mortar redone on the pedestal.

The picture is printed, and we realize that no picture was taken of me. Somehow, this seems appropriate, as if our precious lamb should be tended to by someone outside our clan. We mail the picture to my Grandmother Lib, and she puts it in the pocket of her bathrobe. She carries it there forever.


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Filed under Grey Johnson

3 responses to “Paula Mae by Grey Johnson

  1. Sweet ritual of remembrance. Nicely done.

  2. Just enough information to make us feel the intent and the dedication of the characters here and what they are doing. Nice.

  3. Pingback: Week #24 – Tombstones « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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