top of page
  • Writer's pictureBulb Culture Collective

I Wish I Could Teach You Locomotion - Bethany Jarmul

My daughter won’t crawl. Her legs and arms quiver to an off-beat rhythm. I invite a physical

therapist into our home. The therapist checks my daughter for milestones, but finds only crickets

in her neck. The therapist plucks the crickets with her thumbs and forefingers, plopping them

into a cereal box and closing the top. After the therapist leaves, pulls her red hatchback out of our

gravel drive, I name all the crickets Jiminy. I open the lid, allow them to dance, sing, play their

violin-like legs among the blades of grass. Neighbors gather—to listen to the Jiminys’

symphony—with folding chairs and Bud Lights hidden in neon Koozies, golden retrievers and

beagles with blue leashes. From her baby blanket on the ground, my daughter blinks and every

fairytale is real. Our neighbors watch the crickets evolve into nefarious flying monkeys and the

cereal box into a magic carpet. My daughter kicks her feet and a dust storm carries us all to

Narnia. Moments later the magic carpet becomes a giant pumpkin, her fairy godmother sprouting

with its leaves. The monkey maestro taps his music stand, and a hook-nosed witch appears,

cackling a spell and waving her knobby hand. The neighbors are still our neighbors but now

deeply asleep. Amongst the sleepers a kitten purrs and my daughter finds her feet.

Originally published by Brave Voices Magazine

Bethany Jarmul’s work has appeared in more than 50 literary magazines and been nominated for Best of the Net and Best Spiritual Literature. Her chapbook This Strange and Wonderful Existence is forthcoming from Bottlecap Press. Her chapbook Take Me Home is forthcoming from Belle Point Press. She earned first place in Women on Writing’s Q2 2022 & Q2 2023 essay contests. She lives near Pittsburgh. Connect with her at or on Twitter:@BethanyJarmul.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page