For mom

When I was a child, things were forever. The strawberry blonde curls of your hair, the salty wind against my forehead on the island, little hands fastened tight to yours, and a spirit that I never saw before and haven’t since. Your humanity created the heart that beats in my chest. With each coursing stream of blood flowing through my limbs I hear you whispering: love, compassion and the hard work of an honest man’s life. People sometimes ask me, why are you so nice, implying I should harden my heart, as if I were able to do such a thing. But the truth is this is how I am. You taught me to open my heart, and I can’t imagine another way.

I want to go back and understand the stories of your life, the millions of memories. The courage of crossing your first street, did your right or left foot lead? Was your breath silent for a moment or did you breathe faster? Were the troublemakers watching your first day at school and did you keep your chin up and your eyes forward?

I feel the curve of your life and it is strong.

I’ll do my best to practice everyday, the things you taught me. I’ll practice seeing the world as it is. I’ll acknowledge the suffering and joy in life. I’ll keep an open heart.