She stood in her doorway and watched him go
fondly. He turned,
raised a hand, catching the morning sun- a glint
flashing off a polished button-
before he stepped onto the road. This one
was so like the others yet so uniquely himself. She set aside her thoughts
and began her day. She would not be seeing him
She would not miss him.
Ada was a practical woman. She knew
to keep them around just long enough to give her what she needed,
not long enough for them to be certain
of what she carried.
to keep her children for herself, not to share
with these intimate strangers
who might have their own plans for them,
who might return
to claim them, take them
to work or
She kept her children
close, an eclectic brood
these splinters of her soul, these dear ones who
helped her with the garden,
the tasks that needed doing every day, through the changing of seasons, through
doors and hallways, with the regularity of the movement
of the loom’s shuttle.
This one would come when the sheep were bearing their lambs, wet,
and the older children would help prepare the garden for seeding, haul
water and wood as she drew the little one into day.
They would help her
tie the littlest one onto her back
before she stepped out into the garden;
they would produce bright wooden toys
from secret places
to the child’s delight.
If that one crossed her doorstep again, some year, she would
welcome him as an old friend. Seated in her kitchen, drying his boots
on the oven he may
feel a slight tug, looking into
the bright variegated faces of the children,
hearing their chatter
wondering if he perhaps
lost something here, long ago
something he can’t quite bring into focus in his mind,
his train of thought lost
someone hands him bread, stew, and a child bursts spontaneously into story
with great urgency and wild gesticulations
the thought won’t cross his mind again.
March 31, 2008