I usually have to tell my students to question the meanings of photographs and the motives of photographers, but not her. I sense instead, whatever I tell her, she’s wondering why. Standing before her black-and-whites, across the gallery floor I see her enter and find him and go to my son and ask him what is what. She asks as if she doesn’t know what’s what. He rarely makes new memories now, so every meeting must seem like a first, but she takes his hand and guides him through it and breaks my heart at twenty paces that seem like twenty years. Okay, I’m emotional. I watch him with her and envy him that he doesn’t know his future as clearly as I know mine. I need to believe in something. Mornings in class when I tell them how my son is doing, I know whose eyes will moisten and cloud. He finds me now and brings her along to introduce—to me!—the girl I know as well as I know anyone. She’s asked about the stones he wears and he needs me to explain because he wears them for me and not because he believes. I say something even I don’t hear and nobody’s listening now. My voice goes on about color and mineral properties, but words that started out as resonance and attunement break down into chirps and gargling and bits of leaf trash blowing like destiny through our lives. Was I fooled by her eyes the color of amber flecked with mica that she might have the power to save us both? What haven’t I tried? I tell you this, my son, I will spread myself like a sail before any wind that blows. I will give up for nothing as long as you live.

Copyright © December 02, 2007 David Hodges