As Gift

But understanding is only part of the story. The point, as you probably know by now, is acting from compassion.
—Nancy Kurtz, Starjive

Whenever it rains, says my son,
it makes me sad. He is sitting
in the backseat and we are driving

over the top of Dallas Divide, where
the rain is falling in late October
and the golden aspen leaves still hang,

though it is long past their usual season.
I am sad, too, for reasons I can and can’t name.
And the rain feels right, whatever that means.

I have been making a list, as I do,
this time of blessings. It is long and I lose
count of the many things to be grateful for.

It is predictable, of course. Warmth. My parents
still alive. Enough food. A car. The way you
say my name after making love. And I add how

the day is impossibly gray—a woman could
lean into this mist and never return. And how the highway
to the store seems impossibly long for the weight

of my eyes. How there is so much I cannot explain.
Why does the rain make me sad? says my son.
I don’t know, I say. And sorrow slowly makes way

for wonder. I don’t know how, but I add that to the list.
I pull over the car, and turn off the engine.
Let’s listen to the rain, I say, and ask it.


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