Till It and Tend It

small white boy in orange t-shirt playing with toys at a table
We sit above a table like gods
surveying a field of toys and clay.
My grandchild, at three, is imperious
and I am trying to mediate
between worlds. Make a circle, a ball,
she cries, but I insist
on polite deities, on please
as we roll bits of clay
with flesh and bone fingers.
I pile up a mountain of orbs
she grabs then hammers
then cleaves with plastic knives.
Soon she’s created a garden
of lumps and loamy curves.
This is a woman.
She actually says these words
then swipes it all to the floor
before I can ask
what sort of woman –
warrior, planter, builder?
Sighing, I grasp her hand
then lead her to bend
beside me, to see
what we can gather.
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