Paul has us battling the squirrels every morning for the loquats on our backyard neighbors’ tree. He calls them “ocots,” and it’s adorable.
by Carrie Fountain
by way of Julie Stewart, my best poetry source
When, at the end, the children wanted
to add glitter to their valentines, I said no.
I said nope, no, no glitter, and then,
when they started to fuss, I found myself
saying something my brother’s football coach
used to bark from the sidelines when one
of his players showed signs of being
human: oh come on now, suck it up.
That’s what I said to my children.
Suck what up? my daughter asked,
and, because she is so young, I told her
I didn’t know and never mind, and she took
that for an answer. My children are so young
when I turn off the radio as the news turns
to counting the dead or naming the act,
they aren’t even suspicious. My children
are so young they cannot imagine a world
like the one they live in. Their God is still
a real God, a whole God, a God made wholly
of actions. And I think they think I work
for that God. And I know they will someday soon
see everything and they will know about
everything and they will no longer take
never mind for an answer. The valentines
would’ve been better with glitter, and my son
hurt himself on an envelope, and then, much
later, when we were eating dinner, my daughter
realized she’d forgotten one of the three
Henrys in her class. How can there be three Henrys
in one class? I said, and she said, Because there are.
And so, before bed we took everything out
again—paper and pens and stamps and scissors—
and she sat at the table with her freshly washed hair
parted smartly down the middle and wrote
WILL YOU BE MINE, HENRY T.? and she did it
so carefully, I could hardly stand to watch.
I took Annie to see Annie (1982) today. Her first movie in the movie theater. She did great. Ate an entire small popcorn by herself, down to the kernels. Sat rapt in the seat, elbow-deep in that popcorn bucket, pushing down with her legs while the seat cushion threatened to pop back up. The second half she spent in my lap, and fell asleep once, during the Easy Street song—grown-up stuff. She was attentive and polite through the whole adventure, and saved the questions for the way home.
Why didn’t Annie have a mom and dad?
Why was she all alone?
How do we die?
Oh, girl. You keep me on my toes.