The girls take my best scissors, my treasured Sharpies, behind a closed door. They emerge with small squares of brown cardboard wrapped in bits of fabric, secured with rubber bands. “These are our girls.” I notice careful smiling faces drawn in black ink, am introduced to each one, before they disappear in closed fists, are carried out the front door to the sandbox under the grainy grey of the evening sky.

I read Mary Oliver poems, turn the pages of the old library book like a mystery novel. The suspense yanks me forward, what beautiful word, bare recognition, sweet sadness is waiting on the next page. The dishes wait, dirty and patient.

When I walk in the forest this morning it smells like a different country, sweet sharp scents released by last night’s downpour. I realize I have no words to describe the smells of a a foreign place, of a tree on the first day of the rainy season.

P runs into my bedroom before my eyes are open. “I am drawing you a picture!” She runs back out the door. Later I step out of the shower and she is waiting, holding a paper in front of her. It is a picture of a girl named Purple Berry, butterflies with thick legs and feet, an elaborate flag “for the country where she’s from”. I tell her that the best mornings begin with art. She lays the picture on my rumpled pillow.

A slug slides over the rough stone, graceful, determined. Its back is pale and translucent, covered in grey lines like the shadow of stained glass. I kneel down, lean my face close to the ground, smile at the way it carries its head high, its antennae curved and glistening.

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  1. Deborah Krymusa says:

    i like the idea that dirty dishes can be ‘patient’…(that gets me off the hook for awhile). and also, that purple berry has a flag ‘from the country she is from’. that’s totally a p. thing. she hasn’t decided if she likes ‘norway’ or ‘kenya’ better…or even some other country..the whole world is open to her…

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