Author's Note: For December, here’s something unexpected in the ordinary, something to get us all thinking about our “one wild and precious lives” (Mary Oliver).
This was a day when nothing happened, the children went off to school remembering their books, lunches, gloves. All morning, the baby and I built block stacks in the squares of light on the floor. And lunch blended into naptime, I cleaned out kitchen cupboards, one of those jobs that never gets done, then sat in a circle of sunlight and drank ginger tea, watched the birds at the feeder jostle over lunch's little scraps. A pheasant strutted from the hedgerow, preened and flashed his jeweled head. Now a chicken roasts in the pan, and the children return, the murmur of their stories dappling the air. I peel carrots and potatoes without paring my thumb. We listen together for your wheels on the drive. Grace before bread. And at the table, actual conversation, no bickering or pokes. And then, the drift into homework. The baby goes to his cars, drives them along the sofa's ridges and hills. Leaning by the counter, we steal a long slow kiss, tasting of coffee and cream. The chicken's diminished to skin & skeleton, the moon to a comma, a sliver of white, but this has been a day of grace in the dead of winter, the hard cold knuckle of the year, a day that unwrapped itself like an unexpected gift, and the stars turn on, order themselves into the winter night.
©2022 Barbara Crooker
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