Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

Mrs. Calendar Backs into Chaos

by Ava Leavell Haymon


Mrs. Calendar knocks on the door

of Chaos. She has her Coach bag

over one shoulder, car keys

clipped on, monthly scheduler,


a few bills she must remember

to drop off at the post office

on Bennington. She is on time.

It’s 9:30 to the minute.


Chaos is a little round house,

as usual. Mrs. Calendar hasn’t slept well,

but she should not be underestimated.

Her good friend has two weeks to live


and she wants to say the right thing.

She knocks louder. Chaos answers,

You may come in now. Mrs. Calendar’s

surprised to hear a voice.


You may come in, Chaos repeats,

but you have to come in backwards.

At that odd moment, wondering

what to do, Mrs. Calendar remembers


a recent dream: Moscow (a place

she’s never been), five days left

in the family vacation. A Russian woman

turns, looks straight into her eyes,


asks, What are you looking for here? The dream,

somehow, settles it. Mrs. Calendar acts

on the invitation of Chaos. She turns around

and backs in. Crossing the threshold, she breaks


into cartoon-figure parts — arms, purse, torso, etc.

Outside the door, her paper-scrap handwritten list

swoops zigzags toward the ground.

Mrs. Calendar had hoped Chaos would


be still so she could lie down and relax,

so she would think of what to say.

But Chaos itself begins

to split into dark blue and brown


like the separation of earth and waters.

Too much order here, says

the unconnected head of Mrs. Calendar:

Nobody knows what it means.


Chaos reminds Mrs. Calendar she must

give up everything to find something

to say. Mrs. Calendar reminds Chaos:

dying in two weeks is a calendar issue.