The girls write cards for their teachers with my coloured sharpies, draw Christmas lights and flowers on the envelopes, tie shiny green ribbon around small gift cards, beg for time to write one more.
Overwhelmed by news headlines I go to the library, pile my arms with poetry anthologies. I spend my afternoon with e.e. cummings, William Carlos Williams, and Allen Ginsberg, though Ginsberg is too heavy for my fragile heart. I put his anthology by the door, return to Mary Oliver like a distant cousin.
After the girls are in bed I roll three red Santa hats into small scrolls, tie them with ribbon, my protest against the darkness. I tuck them into the dollhouse to be found in the morning.
A small praying mantis is living in the bathroom. I know I should try to help it find its way outside, but am growing accustomed to its company. I watch its legs, like new blades of grass, tiptoe across the mirror.