He lived just two doors down
from her when he was eight,
and when she sent him home
with a hot glass bowl of something she had cooked
for him to share with his other family down the street,
“If you fall running down the street,
throw the bowl to the side.
I don’t want it to cut you.
I can always get another bowl.
I can’t get another grandson.”
And she watched as
the skinny legs stiffly and awkwardly
carried the blonde boy balancing a steaming dish
to his home.
The back of her hand wiping the sweat from her forehead,
the breeze on the front porch blowing through her house dress.
This was the philosophy taught,
the first lesson of many rules:
that no matter how
precious the work performed,
no matter how hard the sacrifice,
no matter how blistered the hands may be,
the one receiving the gift is always
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