P notices patterns. She points at the shadows branches paint on our living room wall at dusk, the ripples in the sand below the monkey bars from last night’s rain. When I call her in after dark, she stops at the front door. “Look at the beautiful pattern!” Her eyes, adjusted to the darkness, see art in the shadows that my evening in artificial light blinds me to.
We are at a small petting zoo, farm animals in a circle of wire fence. M picks up a redbrown hen, places it carefully on the back of a sheep, walks away with a secret smile, her animal sculpture still and resigned.
J wears a blue lycra leotard printed with silver stars over a striped t-shirt. The outfit is ludicrous, bunchy, not really an outfit at all. She runs through the farmer’s market with the boldness of a circus star, licks drips of ice cream from a cone, from her small fingers.