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September 2015, vol 11 no 3

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Melanie Faith

Fill-In


There you are in Pa T's ball cap with the bill backwards on your curls, there you are paging a book I expressly chose because the heroine looks like you, there you are holding two purses by their strings, grinning. The photos are in an album now. Not online, but an album fingers can turn, a bow tied at its spine. I know the treasures you tuck inside: a car made from cardboard that your mom put together for you at lunch, a plastic cellphone, a bracelet of rhinestones you bought with money I gifted you. On the porch tonight, the kids' yells waft from three doors down. Boys, playing tag; I imagine you scampering with them, taking the hills jumps at a time. When I page through my visit with you it wounds – this happiness, this distance: the birthday ice cream on a plate; the kaleidoscope I brought you because I had one, too; the walks pulling your wagon; hibachi with no fire because it scared you, that close to open flame. Your mom says you ran in circles in your driveway last night, explaining: "because mom, the moon is a circle, too." When I was three like you, I told my grandpa – Pa T's dad: "It's hard, being little." Then in his seventies and carting an oxygen tank and tubes after years of a carton a week, I made him smile. I'd like to take this time to amend myself: "It's hard, being fill-in-the-age." The moon's a circle here, too.

cloud bank geese scavenge in the rain


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