47.2 - Spring 2018

Page 77

In the fall, mother-time speeds up a little. I start back to teaching and I become necessarily distracted. We hurry toward the holidays, starting with Halloween—the one my daughter likes best. I liked it too—not for dressing up as someone else, but for the deification of my favorite things: cats, pumpkins, owls. This is the owl-time of year, the time of dappled radiance, mutation and maturation, variety and harvest, the time when Keats was born, Washington Irving-time, and the time in Richard Scarry’s children’s books when his illustrated worlds for word-learning turn russet and gold, and his little animals are at farm stands buying corn to eat while standing outside under really busy clouds, and I remember carrying lots of books in a bag too big for my body at a time in my life when I had the suspicion someone else owned me, and I smelled meat cured and hanging in smokehouses and had an ancient, time-bending moment when all the little souls crept down from their trees, as in that Louise Glück poem, All Hallows, my most-loved reckoning with how we come to be an I in the first place. The character who is me is cleaning my daughter’s room one day in September and accidently knocks the jewelry box off its shelf. I hear something rattle and sigh and it takes all my willpower not to look inside. Whatever is in the box sounds indescribably fragile, as though “if I shook the box too hard, what was inside might break.” I realize, however, that it’s my daughter’s secret, so I put it back on the shelf. SPRING 2018

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