Entries by Louise Rozett

Permutations of Love: Part II

Experiencing personal tragedy against the backdrop of collective tragedy is disorienting. On April 6, I made the terrible decision to say goodbye to the magnificent Lester. In the midst of our global pandemic, I sense that my grief over my dog—and my guilt over my decision to end his life—seems trite and self-indulgent, even to some who understand who he was and what he meant to me. But regardless of this, I continue to mourn and wrestle with what I find to be a nearly incomprehensible question: how can the last act of love be a decree of death?

Permutations of Love

I. Lester is a beautiful Bernese mountain dog who stops traffic—literally. People pull their cars over to ask about him. He’s been in commercials. As a result of living in Los Angeles, he knows how to find the craft services table at any film shoot and charm a Teamster into giving him bacon; as a result of having been raised in New York City, he knows how to wait at the curb for car service. He has a big vocabulary and a well-trained owner (me). He used to be a solid 125 pounds, but he’s down to a skinny 105 as a result of degenerative myelopathy—canine ALS—with which he was diagnosed in August of 2018[…]

Of a Fixed Nature

Two boys pull green oranges from the tree
that hangs over the churchyard fence. They

throw them into the street with such auto-
matic skill that they may be the same boys

sent to kill in any war that will never be theirs […]

Blas Falconer, Poet

An impressionist painting: From up close, in the throes, the canvas is a blur of colors overlapping, brushstrokes smooth and coarse, repetitive, messy, dizzying, dazzling, dark, and light. But from a distance, the wildness of the expression appears tame. You see the oil painting for what it is: An intricate composition from the paintbrush of a master […]

A Brief History of Drills

When I was in the fourth grade, I was certain the world would blow up in its entirety. The Soviets had nukes—we all knew that—and the prospect of it would send my ten-year-old mind into recurring panics. At night, when I was supposed to be sleeping while Mother and Father watched the television, I would lie awake and imagine a group of men in hats standing over a control panel ready to nuke us […]

Not Yet Five / Mother

With Cleopatra eyes and Sadé skin her words sting clear as Noxema lather:
“Mom, I’m not pretty,” she confesses. “What?” I accuse—“What do you mean,”
I spit and sputter, my mind scrambling to organize an understanding
of this violence she commits against herself […]

Admissions: Part II

It made me giddy to think that sixteen-year-old me was furious by the time I got home. I wish I could remember that drive, the transition from fear to fury. I wish I could see my face transform as the new me was born, the one who would insist on seeing only female doctors, and who would imagine the violence I’d perpetrate against anyone who touched me without my permission.[…]

Admissions: Part 1

I was 16. It was fall of my senior year, and I was applying to colleges. But I knew where I wanted to go. For most of my life, I’d lived down the street from my dream school, an ivy-covered university that loomed large in my consciousness. My father was affiliated with it, and it played a central role in my family’s life—we went there for plays, exhibits, sports events. I’d even dressed up on Halloween as the school’s star football player when I was a kid. I was sure this university was my destiny […]