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The smaller one sits up also, butcannot restrain herself: again leans,again wraps. Still the other sits upright.
The smaller one takes her arm back,her cheek back, the side of her body back.Sits also upright. And so this dance continues—only, look: it is not a gray-haired woman and a smaller one.Rather, a gray-haired woman and a boy,twelve, an aunt and nephew, mother and son,exuberance and angular reserve.
The boy—I cannot see his hand butthis is true: I see his shoulder—reachesfor the woman’s hand. Never does shereach for his or look at him. He triesagain, impossibly: leans toward, whispers,wraps his arm around, lays his head.
Later, I see the boy, freckled and open-faced,punch cup in hand, turning toward me, limbs new, not yet his own;taller than I imagined when sitting.
Oh, I say—almost say, grabbing aftermy fingers, pulling my hand back, alreadynearly outstretched—Oh, I say, almost: whoevertaught you to love, you just keep loving.
But he is gone. My words float away, unsaid.
These I anchor, send after him: Gods whodole out children, you keep him sturdy.
Source: Instructions in Joy: Meditations, Skinner House Books, 2003
Copyright: The author has given Unitarian Universalist Association
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Last updated on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.
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