By Riane Konc

November 3, 2014


You have been ours for ten months, and tomorrow, the state will return you to your mother.

Not ours, of course. We know. Foster parents have no rights, not really. Friends and family of foster parents certainly don’t, no matter how many braids we tie, or school assemblies we attend, or baths we draw. I know the words on your spelling list for next week--you’ve been struggling with affect and effect--but it doesn’t matter, because tomorrow you will go home, and though we don’t know it--though we give you our phone numbers and beg you to call, we will never hear from you again.

Look, you whisper, tugging on my arm. At the bottom of the hill, a pair of deer, grazing in the tall grass. Go on, I say, and you drop your jump rope and start slow down the hill, taking long, deliberate steps, eyes wide, memorizing the antlers, the bristled brown fur. Mid-step, your shoe presses on a twig, snapping it, and before you can yell Wait! the deer are gone, clattering into the woods. You trudge back to me, disappointed.

Where’d they go? you ask.
They just got scared, I say. You lean your head on my shoulder.

I never get a chance to tell you about early the next morning, how one deer emerged silent from the gray trees, lowering its head but finding nothing in the spot where you stood -- just broken twigs and flattened leaves, the whole morning wet with baptism.


Photo "Morning Light" provided by Ervins Strauhmanis, via Flickr creative commons license.

Comments (12) - Post a Comment
Every Beautiful Thing shows me something, and makes me think. But not every one brings me to tears in a way that I know will stay with me forever. Thank you for this.
Elizabeth Gaucher at 8:21am EST - November 3, 2014
Yes, that is a beautiful thing. You gave away a memory to carry forever. I hope the child holds on tight.
Jan Priddy at 8:54am EST - November 3, 2014
Even though I read each Beautiful Thing, todays brought me to a quiet, safe place. Thank you
Sally at 9:14am EST - November 3, 2014
Gorgeous and profound. Thank you.
Joanne at 9:48am EST - November 3, 2014
I felt the dendrite chill coming on toward the end of the third paragraph...and then just got blasted. Thank you.
Scott at 10:02am EST - November 3, 2014
"The whole morning wet with baptism." Sad yet gorgeous prose.
Melissa Cronin at 12:47pm EST - November 3, 2014
The daily moments described linger with grief and the ending left me breathless.
Kira Elliott at 1:45pm EST - November 3, 2014
Stunning, sobering...beautiful work
D. Ward at 3:26pm EST - November 3, 2014
Beautiful, simply beautiful....
Annie at 5:25pm EST - November 3, 2014
Lovely and touching. Thank you.
Mary at 11:00pm EST - November 24, 2014
To all those who give and love without any full expectation of seeing the outcome of their giving and love...this is a celebration and a mourning.
Bill Miller at 9:10am EST - December 4, 2014
Adrienne Pilon at 11:46am EST - December 15, 2014

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