Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Wearing Sunglasses against the Sun & Smell of Smoke

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Wearing Sunglasses against the Sun & Smell of Smoke

Article excerpt

Four boys I don't know arguing in the public pool

asked me to arbitrate. I'd been looking toward them,

but was lost in my grief and wearing sunglasses. No,

I said, I didn't see anything. It was clear they were surprised,

a clue they were used to well-intentioned adult supervision.

Why not try talking this out yourselves?

They did. Shook hands. I said, I'm proud of you

to the boy who still looked peeved I had abdicated some job

he thought I had by nature of my age. What disappointments

he has ahead. As my mother lay dying, she confessed

in the night she didn't believe anyone really loved her. Why

are you even here? She'd asked. My obvious answer

bringing tides of confusion across her loose face. But

why do you love me? She'd asked, her blue eyes, seemingly paler

each day, glowing in her face with puzzlement and need. …

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