My teenager, working in a nursing home, relays nursing lore that bad news comes in threes. Is this true? she asks. I love that she thinks I may have this answer.

It’s not true. Bad news knows no numerical limits.

But braided in with all that bad news are also other things, too – whether confirmation of a longed-for pregnancy or a sunny day’s stillness, a warm bit of reprieve.

You might as well answer the door, my child,
the truth is furiously knocking.

– Lucille Clifton


2 thoughts on “Counting

  1. My grandmother always said that death comes in threes. The good thing about that attitude is that after three people you know–even if only by name recognition–depart for the next world, you can put down worrying about who might be next. Maybe that’s an old southern thing. Anyway, the way you slipped in the word “braided” struck me as poetically elegant and warmed my heart.

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