Worn Cleats

Feeding the wood stove before bed, my eyes catch on my daughter’s duct-taped cleats drying beside the wood stove.

Two decades ago, I first became a mother to this girl’s older sister, and an accompanying stream of beloved things have passed through our lives, too.

Beloved Sleepy Bunny — now worn threadbare — colored stacking cups, babydolls, a teddy bear my youngest clutched on her lap as we drove around the Southwest the summer I removed my wedding ring and threw it into the desert. When she was three, this girl draped over a blue swing in the front yard apple tree on her belly and dug her toes in the dirt, dreaming.

Now, she’s 15, teen as teen gets. I study that silent sign of what’s beloved to this girl. Then I turn out the light and go upstairs to read.