The Giving Tree

by on May 5, 2012 :: 0 comments

My Aunt Hannah taught 2nd grade.
And after the first amputation
which was just a couple of toes
on her left foot, she came
to school carrying a silver cane,
and she let the kids use it
as a prop in their little skits,
and as a stickball bat at recess,
and to reach up into the tree
to rescue the kite. And the kids
were happy. But after the second
and third and fourth amputations—
this little piggy and his neighbor,
then the whole damn block, then up to the knee,
and then a year later all over again
on the other side of the street—
the kids had a different teacher.
And my Aunt Hannah came to school
in a silver wheelchair, and she let the kids
push her around in it. And some of them
sat in her lap as she read to them
at reading time. And they asked her
questions, unselfconsciously, the way
only kids will ask: What happened
to your legs? Where are the legs now?
How do you take a shower? How
do you drive a car? It was not unlike
show-and-tell, and my Aunt Hannah
was happy to answer. She even joked a little,
and slapped one stump and then the other,
so it looked like a flam on a pair of bongos,
or a rim shot after the punch line
of a bad joke in the Catskills.

editors note:

If that’s what is, best to embrace it. The kids will accept it and we’ll learn faster how to navigate the shower or drive the car. – mh

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