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Let it get bigger

March 4, 2015

She remembered fishing the big river with her father, the tiny fish gasping in the air. He released it from the hook, tossed it back. Let it get bigger.

But it was my first catch, she whined.

Love, too, proved slippery as a small fish. She tried every line and net she could, but love escaped her efforts, or was just too small and had to be thrown back.

She heard her father’s words: Let it get bigger. Somewhere, beneath the murky waves, love grew day by day, just waiting for her boat to linger at the surface.

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Moths

February 28, 2015

Words cluster about my head like moths most days, teasing me with wing-beaten currents, but they dart away when I reach out to catch them.

I would like to turn off the light that draws them to me, just dim it long enough for them to move elsewhere. It is exhausting, the constant chasing of small, winged beasts, the fear that even if I do catch one, the brush of my fingers against their hair-like scales will bring it down, take away its essence. Is it worth catching one only to learn it will never fly again?

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What I will not get to see

January 14, 2015

I have taken photographs of my son every day of his life. The images scroll by—smiles, frowns, a pout, mouths frozen in screams.

But he is already half my height, and yesterday, when I drove by a school, I watched the children at recess and thought about all the things they do that their parents don’t see, all the experiences that go undocumented as they emigrate to adulthood.

Life slowly fades like an image in bright sunlight. There is no reversing it—I already miss what I will not get to see.

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The now

January 8, 2015

He scrimped and bought a small bunch of chard, some broth, a box of pasta, but it was enough for dinner. He had unearthed a bottle of wine he had stashed away for a special night, and he’d lit a candle to cozy the small room.

Are you more afraid of what might come later? he asked. Or of losing touch with what came before?

She didn’t like to think about either, she admitted finally, but only because she’d had too much wine. I would rather just stay in the now, she said. I like it here very much.

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Fighter of Sleep

November 17, 2014

He fights sleep with furrowed brow, pursed lips turned down. He rages against it, scratching my face and grabbing my hair as if his tight grip will wrest him from the grasp of Nod. But we are learning each other, he and I, and his nightly storms are like those roll in before baseball games in the summer. This is all going to blow over, my friends and I said, driving toward the stadium through thunder and lightning and sheets of water. His storm passes, too, giving way to smooth-faced sleep, his arms relaxed beneath the swaddle.

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Intersection/reminder

November 16, 2014

I saw a photograph of an intersection shrouded in fog, and remembered parking there once, long ago. It had been clear when I nestled my car in line with the others, but by that afternoon, mist enveloped the city and it would be awhile before I could discern things properly again.

It is a good reminder, this photo, this fog, this memory of other times when the next step might not have been so obvious. We don’t always know what lies around that curve, up that next hill. We don’t always forecast all the joy that is to come.

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Steam burn

November 12, 2014

The kettle’s lid no longer holds true, so it should be no surprise when it clatters over the pouring stream of boiling water, past the awaiting mug and onto the counter. It should come as no surprise when the steam from inside the kettle escapes all at once, then, and envelopes your fingers, curled around the handle, and leaves pink splotches that sting the rest of the day. There is so much, now that hurts without warning, so many small, unpleasant accidents that leave burn marks on body, on soul.

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