His Pockets (repeat)

By Deborah Nedelman

July 1, 2019

His Pockets (repeat)

Originally published on June 8, 2015. 

At four he is an earnest collector. He keeps his secrets in his pockets and leaves them for me in the laundry basket. As I unroll the cuffs of his too-long-yet pants, sand dribbles out, a clump of mud caking the cloth. Even if all is quiet, I remain cautious. Experience has taught me to turn the pant legs out to see if anything moves. Has he captured some critter and forgotten it there? Using my thumbs, I push the fabric inside out. I’m careful to do this over a container.

What he values changes from day to day, season to season. Last fall he couldn’t hold enough seedpods to satisfy; by summer the only things that mattered in the world were seashells. The choice is instantaneous. No time to explain what it is that makes him race across the ravine and splash his way into the mud yelling, “Wait, wait, Mommy! There’s something I need.”

Need? Oh, yes. It is as necessary as air to have that pinecone, that white stone, that bottle cap, that broken piece of glass, that worm, that feather, that piece of something that glittered when the sunlight fell across the trail. As necessary as his name. As if pieces of him were scattered across the world and he was bent on gathering them back again into himself, into his pockets.


Photo "Pocket" provided by Brian, via Flickr.com creative commons license.

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