Hannah

August 20, 2010
When I was four or six
and Hannah was nine or eleven,
we took baths together,
and I sang to calm her down when she cried.
I thought I understood her language.
“Joo beesh.” I thought she meant “juice”.
But “joo beesh” also meant video”
and “snack”. And sometimes “joo beesh” meant
something I didn’t know, or nothing.
I don’t know.

The time took a stranger’s burrito at Taco Bell.
The times she jumped into the fountain at the mall.
Hannah running down the stairs naked
during our Hanukkah party.

Five in the morning, when the door was unlocked
and Hannah got out.
Teachers, neighbors, aids, and Dad in pajamas
all helped in the search.
Not a hard search.
She was on her swing
at her park,
whooping as she swung higher.
Much higher than I could swing.

Much of those years went over my head.
Even when she was still alive,
just two minutes away by car,
I didn’t know much more about her
than I’ve just told you.





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