All Told

Turning Toward Blessing

She is wearing the sweater that is like my sweater, this bond between us. She fingers the ribbing and I know the softness in my own fingertips. She pulls it across her chest, a gesture of protection. May you be safe from threat and all sense of threat. Her eyes are tired, that smudging, she does not brighten immediately at our arrival. She knows we cannot save her. May the soft give comfort against the hot and prickling, the tearing and stabbing, the intrusions. She cradles a small brown plush dog in the crook of her arm, wraps him in the leaf of her sweater, sits him beside her mat. She grooms him, cooing and murmuring. Our attempts at conversation disturb the rhythm of her comforts. She scowls at him. "Don't you want to eat your fruit, Mama? Don't you like fruit?" She answers yes. She answers no. It makes no difference. She isn't thinking of eating. She isn't aware of the food. The dogs circle the table. She smiles into the jingling of their tags.

He smiles a bright welcome. How good it is to see us. He asks where we are staying these days. He says "Thank you." For the fruit set down before him and he eats. He saves the blueberries for last. He asks where we hope to be in a year. We are all struck dumb at the prospect of a year, unforecastable. He watches the window, the light in the sky. Appreciating the height of the trees. Noting the idling car in the neighbor's garage. Tracking the constant flick and flash in the distance that is the traffic on Providence telling itself without pause. A tiny reflection of sun on moving metal that he recognizes for what it is, a telling of traffic. I rest my hands on his shoulders gone boney. He twitches and jerks, small electric storms running through him. I stay. May you be at home wherever you find yourself. May the beauty of the world tell itself to you. May the patterns you discover please and settle you. We recite our blessing news for him, the coming of the child, the imminent graduation, Carolina's big win, Rebecca's visit. He straightens his flowered mat against the edge of the table. He sleeps. May the care of others comfort you. May you know the sound of your name in your mother's voice. May your dreams always be sweet.