it’s like i’m walking through life with an elephant on a leash.
she keeps it slacked and doesn’t need anything from me.
on the wood chip trail she breathes deeply and lets the branches brush her sides.
down the aisle of the grocery store she keeps her eyes down avoiding the fake light
while i walk stunned that people aren’t shocked to see her.
in my house we coordinate our efforts, making sure to leave enough room for others to pass.
there are times the rooms in life are so small
she’s getting climbed on and crawled over and walked under
all the while invisible.
there are times she finds a friend, a near mirror image and we all walk together.
i love her because she simply is.
she is the facts, no story attached.
it’s like i have a classroom of needy, scared, tired, pent up, invisible children spanning the ages of infant to 13.
it’s like a side job, a lens for the rest of my living.
it’s like living my life and tending to their needs all at the same time
and bit by bit they are getting met
it’s like i’ve been swimming in only the top few feet of a river
the water warm and predictable
no undercurrents, no predators,
the frozen bottom slick and smooth
and it’s like the river bottom cracked, the frozen melting
hairline fissures that leak from the depths
jagged chunks that span the width jarring loose and letting a flood in
it’s like the water i swim in gets colder
until it mixes together…and one can’t be separated from the other
i find holes in the frozen and dive down
trusting there is beauty on the river’s true bottom
it’s like a child running up to me,
wide eyed and frantic, crying and mad
barefoot, sun dress, small legs, fine hair
blurting out stories
tattling the tales denied
she runs over
regardless of time or place
surprising me in the aisle of the grocery store
she must have been hiding behind cereal or the soap
church, bed, wal mart
school, car, fair
forest, prairie, lake
out of the blue
a sneaky strong thing
it’s like the moment i see her
others come too.
slightly older with shorter hair
slightly younger with confused eyes
jeans and high tops
hairspray and small wrists
brave smiles and swirling stomach
embarrassed and ready to bolt, one lets the others speak for her
defeated and confused one shuffles and shifts her eyes
sullen and pissed off one leans on a wall testing me with her mere presence
they flood over sensing relief.
and oh, the bliss to know the power i have
to guarantee them it’s over now.
then it’s like i’m on a horse, wearing a cape riding through and gathering them up
it’s like i’m a summoner, small animals and children circling my feet
it’s like i’m magic, healing everything i see