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Peculiar Treasures: Who, What, When, Wheres and Whys

By Kellie Purcill

babyelephant

Where love is multiple chairs all around a neighbourhood.

Why you should think again before you wear skinny jeans before helping out for a couple of hours.

How a father’s advice to “Go do something. Even if it’s wrong” leads to discovering his box of shells.

What happens when you take two Smithsonian palaeontologists to see Jurassic Park? “They definitely supercharged the mosasaur and made the pterosaurs way stronger than they would have been in real life.”

Who’s life included a duel, enlisting in the Spanish navy, going to war to defend the pope, getting shot twice, being kidnapped by Algerian pirates, writing about a certain Don Quixote, and finally being buried under a convent?

How “grief illiterate” do you think you – or your culture – are? Here are some clichés and scripture verses you may want to avoid.

When there’s no card or balloons, but “My mother’s dementia gave me the best birthday I ever had.”

When “I fear I’ve fallen asleep on the comfortable couch of ingratitude” – a letter of appreciation.

When there is beauty in bugs – First draft poetry brought gorgeously to us by Melissa Y.

I felt that tickle on my arm this morning,
the one that is either a hair or a bug,
and my hand flashed out,
smashing
before my mind registered the turquoise blue
of the tiny body,
the iridescence
of its wings

and I felt my friend Regret
watching me,
not for the act,
but for my thoughtlessness–
for the instinct to destroy
rather than walk five steps
to the door
and release.

Oh please,
I muttered to it,
I must be reading too much Mary Oliver
and Thich Nhat Hanh
if this dead bug
has invited you into my head.

I should not have to care
about the ethics of smashing a gnat,
dammit!

or wonder why
it was only beauty
that gave me pause–
why an average bug,
equally as crumpled,
would not have mattered

this gnat
should not be worth
be worth a poem

but later,
eating breakfast on the back steps,
another gnat landed
on my arm,
plain black,
and I paused,
inhaled,
and blew it off

here’s the thing,
Regret–
I know myself,
know that I don’t like bugs
crawling on my arms,
that spiders,
and wasps especially,
will never elicit sympathy

but I also want to believe
that what I know about myself
isn’t all there is

that the instinct
(if that’s what it is)
to smash
can be inhaled
and blown out
in an infrequent
mercy

that iridescent wings
can extend awareness
to all the other
ordinary unbeautifuls

and that a thousand crushings
can change in a breath

About Kellie Purcill

lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

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