Mark’s Weekly Reflection

Mark’s Weekly Reflection January 4, 2010

The Givers

Once the doctors broke their huddle,

her uncle leaned in, “What would you like?”

The little girl beamed, “A white piano!”

It took him three weeks but he had

one waiting in her room. She played

it every day like the medicine it was.

And the guitar player stopping for water

on his way through Virginia, hearing the

gas station owner on the phone, “I got no

choice. I gotta put ’em down.” The young

man keeps telling everyone, “I don’t know

why, but I had to take them.” Now the

old dog and three pups live in his car.

And the old nurse who dreams of her

grandma sitting in the backseat on long

trips warming her hands. And this one,

in awe of her sister who after ten years of

meditating gave it up to care for orphans.

Not ’cause she was done with it, but ’cause

what she found there was now everywhere.

And the speech therapist who when sad

opens the memory of her grandfather like

a thin napkin holding a pressed flower. A

country doctor, he took chickens instead of

money. She was thirteen when he died. A

week after the funeral, her father and uncle

were going through his things. In a burst of

anger, her uncle dumped his books in the

field by the burning barrel and dragged the

bookcase home. It began to rain and the

books, like broken doves, softened and

enlarged. She took the older ones and

keeps them close. She opens them

when it rains and he talks to her.

And how about the son of a heroin addict

who serves soup in a shelter? Since the givers

seldom know what they give, it’s the pour of

the ladle that ties us together. Now you tell

me of your old aunt who lives on an island

off the coast. Going blind, she’s tying ropes

from house to tree to water bucket;

feeling her way through all that

is familiar and strangely liking it.

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