At six years old I am not aware of the exact
implications of the word stroke.
And when you sit me on the bottom of the
oak staircase with the wrought iron banister
I can see that you have been sobbing and your
fear at 32 is more intense than any of mine.
I do not know exactly what was said during that
phone call, only that it was spoken by my grandmother
from an emergency room somewhere and heard in front
of a glowing kitchen window on a phone old
enough to have a curly cord and that it is
the hottest part of the summer and we’ve just
been to the zoo to ride the carousel and see the
lions. And that when it is finally relayed to
me I do not understand the change of life it
will imply or how unfair it is to keep a
lion in a Midwestern zoo confined to a glass
enclosure, pacing the same worn spots, gawked
at, its majesty doctored and forgotten.