Thursday, May 21, 2015


In the blue afternoon
In between the peas and the carrots
Of four shepherd's pies
Lined up for assembly on my kitchen table
While the rich sauce simmers,
And one child naps,
A second sits intently piecing a puzzle,
And the remaining three are pinning a moth
Under a glass jar in the green backyard,
The phone rings

It is only the school calling to renege
On the services they'd led me to believe
They would provide for my daughters
Who have enough to fight for in this life
And my strong voice cracks
While the carrots grow cold
And the rich sauce scorches
While hot tears squeeze out

That's how grief steals back in
Tipping the delicate balance with one drop too much
For a heart already torn
Tracking grimy footprints
Across my freshly mopped mind
And I want to snap that mop in half
And slam it through a window

I swallow hard
Draw a long, slow breath, throat aching
Thankful that she's talking now
Babbling on about how this isn't her decision
My voice squeaks, obviously shaken
While I ask, "Exactly which law are we referencing here?"
"I need you to give me specifics"
"Is this in IDEA or Article 7?"
Growing stronger now, louder, clearer
She says she'll get back to me

I spend the rest of the day
Wiping up my spilled heart
Scrubbing the grimy prints off my mind
Hating this fight
I google laws, scan tedious documents
Straining to decipher painfully vague and subjective language
I call the VP of the NFB
Who is blind himself and has been walking beside us
To ask if what the school is now offering
Is anywhere near enough for my girls to really learn braille
But reach only his voicemail

She calls again, her voice annoyingly sweet
Mine much steadier now, determined
I state clearly now the information I need her to gather
Before I can know how much we're at war
She tells me we'll meet in two days at 10:30

Slogging back to the kitchen
I layer cold carrots onto peas
And drizzle them with scorched sauce
And yell at the children
Proudly holding their bottled moth
While tracking grimy footprints
Across my kitchen floor

I am surprised at my depletion
I should be used to this
Should be OK with this
Should be steel by now
I sigh
Admire the moth,
Admire the puzzle,
Make a jelly sandwich
For the fuzzy-headed three-year-old emerging from his nap
Slip one casserole in the oven
And three in the freezer for later
Re-wipe the floors
Re-balance the scales
And go on

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