Shoveling My Snow Does Not Make You Kind by kerry rawlinson

Neighbor-Bill’s a pill! we joke—at first. New in the neighbourhood, we begin on friendly enough footings. Bill offers endless help. To hear him pontificate, you’d swear he’s President of The Entire Fucking Universe—but he’s a retired mailman. Little by little, he refuses to allow us to finish anything… including sentences. He also, alarmingly, pops his head in the back door without knocking. Until my boyfriend *tah-dah’s* wearing my bra & panties, just to chasten him. But Bills are unchasten-able; their suspicions obviously evidence-based…

In spring, we shyly begin trimming our cedar hedges; our wildly enthusiastic lilacs. Bill instantly appears with far sharper sheers. Did we fail to aerate? Tut-tut. Bill to the rescue! A sad, naked desert there under the pines? Never fear! He’s here to seed, spreading non-sequiturs on how to grow lush grass. Crew-cropping it, however, is ridiculous, as our mower clearly doesn’t cut it.

In winter, Bill rushes over with a much better snow-shovel, sporting the latest ergonomic handle. He projects an entitlement. Since we’re clearly helpless, no task’s acceptable without supervision. No crown-moulding in the world’s left wanting for the diversity of his state-of-the-art tools. He makes us feel vulnerable. Scolded. Inept. Our attempts at self-reliance are pathetic. He’s protecting us from ourselves.

His conversation devolves. How incompetent is the human race, he rants, utterly crap at self-direction. “Fuckn’ n—–s, fuckn’ j–s, fuckn’ h—s,” etc. Bill preaches cures (none remotely science-based) for every transgendered “abomination,” every unloved fetus, every mental ailment or murderous immigrant plaguing decent citizens in their own homes.

Bills. You’ve confused your machinations for kindness. In truth, we’re reduced by your ongoing castration of what we control of our own destinies. We’re safe; well taken-care-of. And what more would we ever do without ya, Bill?

kerry rawlinson’s writing has placed in fiction, poetry & art contests (e.g. Geist; FusionArt; Polar Expressions; Mississippi Valley; Ascent Aspirations); and features lately in Arc Poetry, Pedestal, ReflexFiction; AntiHeroinChic; pioneertown; MinolaReview; CanadianLiterature; AdHocFiction; amongst others. Visit:

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