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Things So Small

Remember how you took the boy out

And shucked all the corn we had saved

For supper? The two of you

There on our backporch

With a basket of ears set between your knees.

You in my grandfather’s chair and the boy

Sitting so close. The easy way you have

With him. I watched from the inside

And saw how you guided his hands,

Pulling back the husk to the stem then snapping

Them there and tossing the leftovers into the yard.

These are the early acts, I thought, the rituals

Shared between more tender hearts.

The fact that you both paused, pleased

It would seem to be in the other’s grace.

And what did you say to the boy

When you finished? The basket lapped with corn

And the boy ready to eat. You leaning

To your feet and taking a couple

Of husk, folding them the way you can

Into a cross. The center knotted in place.

What did you say then? What did you say

Of this symbol left now on the butcher’s block

To dry? Our boy just three years old.

Suffer the little children, and forbid them not,

To come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Little herpes symptoms in women doubt you have kept the verse. Strange

That I thought of Santa Fe and how you might have

Learned to make them there. Corn crosses

For the poor, for the tourist. But didn’t we

Only meet then—you the eager student

With eyes like bright water and me between

Some other life I could not save.

Those days, we like to say, before all this.

Before there was really us and before the boy,

Before the backyard and sweet corn, when on the Plaza

You might have glanced just one time at some

Unremarkable bin hung with wind-fed husk,

Shaped in the word of a then and future hope.