Rochelle Ratner

Actually, it's the acoustic bass she thought he'd marry. The
instrument just a head shorter than he is, resting on one
leg beside him, then drawn close to his body. Its fine,
polished wood is simply glowing. His head gently bends
over it, nodding, listening. The fingers of his left hand hold
firmly to its neck, while two fingers of his right hand, only
two, stroke its deep, supple center. Her waist used to be
like that, before she had children. It was, more than likely,
a mistake to say he couldn't practice in the house, but she
wanted the kids to concentrate on their homework.
She wants a white rat or an ant farm but instead she
gets a parakeet, various goldfish that she never
names, and a half-dead chameleon from the circus.
Her cousin wets the mouth of a fuzzy dog puppet
lying in a shoe box and insists he’s alive (proved
because he’s drinking, see)? This is before the
rabbit. Raisin, as they name him, is a black rabbit
another cousin needed for some science project, now
can’t keep. Two neighborhood boys come over just
to see him, then play catch with her. She learns a
girl two blocks away also has a rabbit, and they
share stories. The girl’s older, but nice to her. Raisin
dies. She takes a clear plastic shoebox, fills it with
water, and puts a red plastic duck inside, telling the
kids he has to be real because look, he’s swimming.
And they laugh at her.