The Cracked Kettle

by nicolecallihan

“Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat our tunes

to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity.”

–Gustave Flaubert

Eva has been dancing in the living room. Evenings, she pulls on her leotard and her ballet skirt and places her arms in an oval around her face, spins and spins, until she falls or bangs into something or gets so dizzy that she laughs. All the while, I practice my ABC’s, watch the hump and sway of letters and words. O cracked kettle, cracked kettle blue, cracked pitcher, cracked catcher, cracked me and cracked you. Strumdilly, strumdally, strum mama a tune; my girlie is dancing, is dancing the moon.