Sunday, May 28, 2006


Photo by S. Auberle


Thunderstorms rolling in off the bay all night, bringing
dreams with them: a woman frying potatoes in my
kitchen; a great black bull chasing me--not your average
Angus, but a mythical, fiery-eyed beast; three dogs
taking shelter from the storm in my living room; and my
mother, grandmother and I seated together around an old
oak table, talking of passion and love.

My mother speaks of a man named Jack Cassidy and
says she has shed many a tear over him. The name
sounds familiar to me. My grandmother tells me of a
Japanese man she adored. Both these men, they say,
were dancers--the most important attribute for
romance to my mother and grandmother. I tell them
of a man who once brought poetry and chocolate to me.

I am reminded this morning, writing this as rain still
streaks my windows, of something a professor once
spoke of that has stayed with me: the "numinous chain
of being" among women. The dream felt like that--as
though even death could not break this line of my

Perhaps the woman frying potatoes was a distant
great, great, great back in the old country. She
appeared to be listening to our words, and fried
potatoes with onions has always been a staple in
my family.

The ancestors I know of in this one branch of my
family tree all carry good, solid, Dutch names.
Except for one, who has always intrigued me. Her last
name is French and I've wondered how she came into
this family. What is her story, this woman named
Henrica Chatillion?

Maybe she was a poet who sat on a rainy Sunday
afternoon, scribbling a few lines on precious paper.
Maybe she dreamed one stormy night into the future:
that she was frying potatoes in a strange kitchen,
listening to women she didn't know, but who seemed
strangely familiar, as they spoke of dancing and poetry
and love...

- mimi


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