From the storage space under the basement stairs, I took out my mother’s wooden picnic basket. I opened the lid, with its grinning sun. I removed the plastic utensils and plates. I spread the checked napkins on the bottom. On them, I laid
- a ceramic chicken
- a plastic mouse in a vest
- a triceratops sticker
- a drawing of a snake-clad woman
I closed the lid and took the basket with me.
I kept the basket safe for years, never opening the lid until one day, you needed me to open it. I took out these precious talismans, hoping somehow they could help me help you. I released the pieces of my heart they held and tried to bandage your wounds.
Too strong. Not strong enough? Spoiled? For whatever reason, it did not work, and there isn’t enough of my heart left to try again.