caged animals

Some days I feel like a caged animal. You know, the crazed ones who pace back and forth for what seems like hours at a time, retracing the steps they've only just made, getting nowhere. They're just like Calvin and I at home in winter and on rainy days, or perhaps we're like them, but no matter.

We begin at the top of the stairs, which he tries to bite then he drools his drug drool all the way down them, little hands tightly grasping the banister as I grasp his harness in mine. At the landing he regards the stairs he's just come down, admiring the stripes made by the contrasting white risers and tan wooden steps. We round the corner and he leans forward to look at them from a different angle, then steps down into the entryway and stomps pigeon-toed into the sitting room where he bangs three boxes of greeting cards that sit precariously atop a small green table. After toppling at least one of the boxes he makes a beeline toward Michael's guitar. There, he rubs his palms over the strings while trying to bite the guitar stand before turning to bang the hell out of a painted metal table on which everything rattles like the eyeballs in my head. Then we move on to the next bookcase, which is in decent shape except for some milky splotches where Calvin's drool has ruined the finish. I quickly usher him along. He bangs the wall below Michael's photo of Calvin's striped urine test strips, a relic from the Ketogenic diet days, then, as he swipes his hands down the length of another bookcase I secure the candles, the fruit bowl and any other objects that might easily be dislodged. With some caution, Calvin descends into the sunken living room, relying on his sense of touch by gingerly dipping his foot over the first step as if testing water. He lacks any depth perception and thus has likely developed a bionic sense of touch. In the living room he crouches to study the pattern on the wool rug, sometimes hovering there, sometimes going down on all fours with a squeal. From there he heads to the library chair, with which he has banged a black mark into the wall behind its back. After a few pats on the French doors, perhaps a little drool on the glass, we retrace our steps before veering off into the kitchen. He comes dangerously close to the corner of the butcher block then teeters into the mudroom bathroom where he bangs the shit out of the shutters, which are scarred and whittled from years of abuse by the little beaver. Shutters done, it's back into the kitchen then around the corner into the entryway banging walls now adorned with little handprints yea high. We mount the stairs then dawdle up them as if we've got all the time in the world (sometimes with dread I think we do.) Calvin's head tilts left with each step up, then to the right in a passionate effort to bite the banister.

And within the next few minutes, after a tickle-fest in the bedroom, a diaper change and several attempts by Calvin to take a bath hours before it's time, we begin at the top of the stairs where we start the vicious cycle all over, like the demented caged animals we've most certainly become—Calvin a beaver, and me? I think I must be an ass.


  1. This would ne so funny if I didn't know The background.

  2. mateo, i am glad you see my humor.

  3. This post is really crazy because I think I wrote a poem about seizures called "Caged Animals" once. Totally different context but same subject.

  4. If you're an ass, I'm a hole.

    When I think back on the keto years, I describe them as the months when Sophie paced her room like a humming tiger, following me around as trying to get quicker bites of the small, glass Pyrex with frozen cream and a thin slice of strawberry. I have PTSD from those days.