On Cherry Valley Road, there’s a catalpa with a heart-shaped hole in its side, where the trunk branched and half tore away in the storm. You could stand on tiptoe and hide a measuring cup and a spinning wheel in there. I pass it twice a day, taking my kids to school, but today, I can’t stop and guess a hundred names for love. Not even one. A mass of white petals litters the ground. Some days I glance at the jagged hole and wonder if it’s growing teeth. Some days, while the kids argue, I think about dinner. About the bats living in the eave and the ladder. The lost language arts book, surely damaged in the storm. My daughter’s teacher wants her students to stop using perfectly good small words like little and pretty, in favor of more complicated ones. She’s made the classroom bulletin board into a graveyard, miniature headstones marking each discarded word. I see her point and disagree: after dinner, the dog and I walk in the dark, while the wind shakes a little more rain from the trees.
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