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October 2013, vol 9, no 3

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Diane de Anda

The Babysitter

Vera, four-foot-elven woman, frog faced to strangers, beloved impish companion to me, with protruding, doe eyes and cheeks like round pink cushions, her every move a spritz of lavender sachet. Her wares in a carpetbag, woven in scattered pansies, plum-purple and blue, stuffed and round as a belly, filled with simple tools to build a child's world. Red and blue and pearl white buttons, "Button, button, who's got the button" sliding her warm hands through mine. Weave a cradle through my fingers, cat's in the cradle, take it now. Aesop's animals, one by one come out to have her tell your tale and hear your voices in her song. Tell me that the names won't hurt me; tell me I'm your golden child; read to me upon your lap, all love, and laughs, and lavender. I'll tell you that the names won't hurt you, tell you we all were your children, we who slept in the crook of your arm.

in the autumn mulch