This morning- I don’t know how it happened – but I woke up next to an angel. She had gone to bed with her brother the evening before but how she’s lying next to me in bed and her soft hand is petting me. I open my eyes and she says, “I love you Mama.” Her face is just inches from mine. Her eyes are clear and large. Some alchemy of Ralph’s reddish-brown depth and my lighter green and dark lashes and her skin is calm and clear from sleep. Her skin is flawless: the only imperfection a very small scratch, barely visible, on her freckle-dusted nose. Her tresses fall around me, clean and sweet smelling and I think of the song lyric: your hair upon the pillow / like a sleeping golden storm. She yawns and even her breath is sweet. Her belly peaks out from under her black cotton shirt: a long, white, lean tummy. She twines her legs around me. I love it when she shares my bed, because like me she likes to talk for a while before getting up. Her last words before sleep and her first words in the morning are always of Love.
Later in the day this same girl runs downstairs with a new Snake Body book – a thrift store purchase by my husband. She slams open the book and jabs a finger, wordless. To a six-page photo spread of a snake graphically swallowing a bird chick. She tells me to read every word.