trying to remove that one last stubborn splotch from the surface of the teapot,
she turns to me–
rub rub rub, in a circular motion–
and begins to gab about the size of her stomach and how sad her eyes look.
I’m eight years old and I’m not really listening.
Partly because I don’t believe her and partly because it’s boring and partly because I’m just
Too engrossed by the way the silver is catching the light,
and the way the word makes me think of a pebble.
For a moment I’m frustrated that there isn’t anything to rhyme it with.
rubrubrub, in a circular motion.
The years have accumulated on her collection,
as years do.
The saucers are dimpled, the cups are mossed over,
the teapot shimmers except for that one damn splotch.
She doesn’t like tarnish.
I find it ironic that it rhymes with varnish
then I figure that’s intentional anyway and frown.
She wears her flaws like charms on that empty chain bracelet always dangling around her wrist
falling to her elbow when she raises a hand in greeting and dropping to wind itself around her fingers in the night
it is the first thing she feels when she wakes,
the first thing she sees when she looks in the mirror
and she paints her eyelids
to remind herself that she is made of stardust–unfortunately,
so are They.
She realizes she is composed entirely of cracks, fissures,
held together in space only by the Strong Force
the same pull that keeps the apartment in order, atom by atom
and the force that
helped her to keep from flying apart when she got too close to him,
too far away from him
but she forgets that the beauty is when light gleams through the cracks she forgets
too much polishing will wear down the finish
and something too reflective will blind you.
Rather than people who shine,
I tell her,
I like people who glow!
At eight years,
I like the way my mom’s heartbeat is strong and steady,
the way she’s so warm and comfortable to lean against,
the way she’s a beacon of soft light and nourishment.
I like the way my dad pulls on galoshes and wades assuredly into a task,
the way he fights with light.
I’d never seen anything more beautiful,
flame encased in silver
and I liked
the way that I knew they were both okay with the change the flame would create, eventually;
the way some things would melt and some would glow red.
She looks at me like I’ve said the best thing ever and then smiles, sadly, ruffles my hair. In a circular motion.
Aw, sweetie, but the world doesn’t.
I’m really confused as to how the world could ever be more important than my own thoughts and ask,
So the world is trying to polish you?
She says, Something like that.