A Life of Its Own

“Don’t Miss This” is already beginning to have a life of its own. The experience carries echoes of parenting, in that while I have all kinds of hopes and dreams for it, I mostly want to love and appreciate it for what it is today, right now, rather than strangling it with an agenda. My biggest prayer is that it will have a positive impact in the world, in the lives of those who read it.

What I could not have predicted was how touched I would be by my girls’ responses to this baby–certainly not the real one they badger me to have on a daily basis–but an exciting newcomer in our lives nonetheless.

Last night, Greg mentioned that he and a friend were going to a potluck at Oakledge Park. V didn’t want to come; our new housemates had bought a gazillion lemons, and she opted to stay home to make a lemonade stand. A few minutes after Pearl and I drove up the street, she called my cell phone to ask how much she should charge for the books she was also going to sell on our little dead-end street. I told her the purchase price–$16.95–tickled that she was sharing her excitement about it on terms that totally suited her, and that I never would have dreamed of suggesting.

After Pearlie and I swam and changed, we sat in the grass with Greg and Morella, eating challah and cheese and homemade plaintain cakes. I had a copy with me. Suddenly Pearl picked it up, ran her fingers down the contents, and begin flipping through the pages with this very intent look on her face. I didn’t know what she was looking for. Then she handed Morella the book. “Read this one,” she said proudly, pointing to page 30.

What Our Hearts Are

Lying naked on my chest,
clean and smooth after a bath,
the sky a dusky cornflower blue.

“What’s in here?” Pearl asked,
tapping on my breast bone.

“That’s my heart,” I told her.
“You can hear it beating.”

She paused.
Some moments passed quietly.

“Your brain is in there?”

“No, my heart. Can you hear it?”

She listened again,
then lifted her head and looked at me.

“Sometimes I don’t know what our hearts are,”
she said.

I teared up.

“Sometimes I don’t know either,”
I told her.
“You don’t have to know. Just listen.”

And she fell asleep
to that ancient mama music,
the crickets outside keeping time.

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